Catherine honoured with Nightingale medal

Child and Adolescent Clinical Nurse and Red Cross aid worker, Catherine Fry, is one of five Australian recipients of this year’s prestigous Florence Nightingale medal.

Nightingale Medal recipient Catherine Fry
Nightingale Medal recipient Catherine Fry

The medal recognises nurses who have shown exceptional courage and devotion to the sick, wounded or disabled in conflict and disaster zones.

Catherine has been working with the Red Cross for 14 years and has visited more than 10 countries on missions to help victims of conflict access health care, clean water, food, and economic support.

Hearing about her Grandfather’s experiences as a prisoner of war inspired Catherine to become a nurse and aid worker.

The aid work has given Catherine the opportunity to apply her skills and training in a challenging environment where people were often going through the worst time of their lives.

Catherine said her aid work varied with each mission.

“I can be doing anything from delivering twins in the back of a landcruiser, or taking a bullet out of an eye in a mud hut in Darfur, supplying hospitals in Syria and Yemen with urgent medical supplies, to mass immunisation programs for children in remote areas where access is limited due to conflict’ she said.

“I’ve also had the opportunity to train traditional birth attendants in safe practice, rehabilitate and equip health centres that have been destroyed, and assist in providing emergency care in situations such as the earthquake in Haiti.”

Catherine’s work as an immunisation nurse at Princess Margaret Hospital combined with previous experience at Sir Charles Gardiner and Fremantle hospitals motivated her to pursue a passion for aid work in rural and remote communities.

“It is really great to be acknowledged for your commitment to your profession. It’s a job I love,” Catherine said.

“Mostly I am the only expat health person in a big team but I have wonderful local staff to work with and without them I wouldn't be able to work at all. All of them are very deserving of this award, but I am honored to have been chosen,” she said.

Catherine’s next mission will take her to Lebanon for 6 months. She will work on the Syrian border alongside Syrian refugees.