Main Navigation

Red Cross aid worker earns nursing's highest international award

Monday May 16, 2011

Australian Red Cross nurse and aid worker Noela Davies has received nursing's highest international honour, the Florence Nightingale Medal which is awarded by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Ms Davies, a registered nurse and midwife, has worked for Red Cross in conflict zones around the world. The Queenslander, currently based in Mt Isa where she works for the Royal Flying Doctors, has been on Red Cross missions to countries such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, and North Darfur in Sudan.

She is one of 39 nurses from 19 countries awarded the Florence Nightingale Medal this year. The awards recognise exceptional courage and devotion to victims of armed conflict or natural disaster. The biennial awards also recognise exemplary service or a pioneering spirit in areas of public health or nursing education, and are also open to voluntary nursing aides who work with Red Cross or an affiliated institution.

'I was drawn to aid work in the early 1990s while I was on holiday with my family in Papua New Guinea, there I witnessed an immunisation program - that was my inspiration,' Ms Davies said.

She said aid work was a hugely rewarding job, and she was very humbled by the award. 'It's incredibly vital that people who live in conflict zones have access to health care, and being able to assist with that is an extremely rewarding experience.'

Australian Red Cross' Head of International Programs Donna McSkimming said: 'Noela Davies and her fellow Florence Nightingale Medal recipients are inspirations to us all in their efforts to help Red Cross fulfill its lifesaving mission. Noela is a credit to Australian nursing, an ordinary Australian who has made an extraordinary contribution.

'The recipients epitomise all that the Red Cross Movement stands for, principles such as humanity, impartiality, and neutrality. These awards - which were first given out in 1912 - honour nurses and nursing aides who show outstanding qualities, such as exceptional courage and commitment, and devotion to care.'

This year's recipients come from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Oceania and the Americas. They were nominated by their local Red Cross Red Crescent Societies and selected by a commission made up of the International Committee of Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Council of Nurses. This is the 43rd year Florence Nightingale Medals have been awarded.

Media contacts:
For media enquiries or to arrange interviews contact Red Cross media adviser Kim Batchelor on 0457 542 113 or