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Australian Red Cross nurses honoured at Government House

Four Australians yesterday received nursing's highest accolade for saving lives in crises.

Wednesday October 7, 2015

Amanda McClelland receives award
Amanda McClelland receives the Florence Nightingale Medal from the Governor-General, the Hon. Peter Cosgrove. Photo: Penny Bradfield

Australian nurses on the frontlines of the fight against Ebola and the conflict in South Sudan were recognised yesterday for their devotion to those affected by conflict and disaster.  

Each nurse received the Florence Nightingale Medal, nursing's highest international accolade, for their service.  

The Honourable Peter Cosgrove, Governor-General of Australia and Patron of Australian Red Cross, presented the medals at a reception at Government House on Tuesday 6 October.  

Amanda McClelland and Elizabeth Bowell were awarded the medal for their roles in the fight against Ebola. They helped open specialist treatment centres and worked on public health strategies: supporting more than 10,000 local Red Cross volunteers who worked to contain the virus and get those infected into treatment centres.  

Meanwhile Kerry Page and Nola Henry worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross in South Sudan. Both nurses were members of mobile surgical teams that go where the fighting is thickest, to treat wounds and save lives where they can.

In presenting the medals, the Governor-General acknowledged each nurse's lifelong contribution to her profession.  

"They've been committed to helping the disadvantaged, the displaced and the dispossessed for their entire careers. This isn't about a flash-in-the-pan moment of service. This is who they are and what they are."  

Michael Legge, President of Australian Red Cross, paid tribute to all 36 recipients of the Florence Nightingale Medal around the world.  

"Their work is gruelling, heart-breaking and frequently dangerous. Their safety often depends on all parties knowing what the red cross means - it signals neutral, impartial aid to anyone who most needs it."  

Read more about the Florence Nightingale Medal  

Our How Aid Works podcast features first-hand stories from our medal recipients.