La Trobe alumnus Andrew Cameron is an award-winning nurse. He’s worked in Kenya, Sudan, Yemen, South Ossetia and Afghanistan, where he treated people in the most extreme circumstances. After returning home from helping people with Ebola in Sierra Leone, he spoke to the ABC about his experiences, saying: ‘We did the best we could and did the burials and it was very emotional work.’
Andrew, who will be speaking at our upcoming health leadership panel, is an inspiration to anyone who wants to pursue a career in health care. He comes from a long line of Australians who have put themselves in harm’s way in order to help treat people.
Here’s some things you might not know about Aussie nurses at war
1 The Red Cross, which Andrew belongs to, was formed just after the start of the First World War and by 1944, membership had reached 450,000
2 The role of the stretcher bearer is important to Australian military history and it was one of the most dangerous jobs. They became hugely important at Gallipoli, the most famous being John Simpson Kirkpatrick who used a donkey to transport wounded men through live enemy fire
3 In France in 1917, four Australian nurses in action rescued trapped patients in burning buildings after a German raid. Sisters Clare Deacon, Dorothy Cawood and Alice Ross-King and Staff Nurse Mary Derrer were the first Australian women to receive bravery awards when they were awarded a Military Medal
4 More than 3,000 Australian civilian nurses volunteered during the First World War
5 Some Australian nurses served in the Korean War, and they were trained in using pistols and rifles, just in case their status as nurses did not protect them from enemy forces
6 In the 1970s, female nursing officers were given the same status and pay as their male equivalents
7 In the Vietnam War, Australian intensive care nurses took on at least six 12-hour shifts a week
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Image: Soldier by skeeze (CC0 1.0)