Esperance nurse Anne Carey awarded Florence Nightingale Medal

Esperance nurse and Ebola warrior Anne Carey has been awarded one of the highest honours in her field, the Florence Nightingale Medal from the International Red Cross.

Ms Carey is one of 39 nurses from 22 countries who were named the recipient of the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve.

The medal recognises exceptional courage and devotion to victims of armed conflict or natural disaster.

Ms Carey was named for her active role in conflict and disaster situations, notably in the running of the Red Cross Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone.

On top of her work in Sierra Leone fighting the deadly Ebola virus, Ms Carey has volunteered in Darfur and Papua New Guinea. 

Ms Carey was one of five Australian nurses who received the honour.

Since her time in Sierra Leone Ms Carey has being recognised with a string of awards, including WA’s 2016 Australian of the Year.

Ms Carey said she was surprised and incredibly humbled to be a recipient of the prestigious medal.

She said wasn’t even aware she had been named a medal recipient until a friend called her on Sunday night asking why she hadn’t shared the good news sooner. 

While she was honoured, Ms Carey maintained that the fight against Ebola was a team effort. 

“I think one has to remember that the award is about a whole heap of people in a team,” Ms Carey modestly said. 

“I can’t say it’s my award. It has been a team effort in a global situation.

“We have to remember the courage that people responded with [whether that be] local or international staff. 

“We also need to remember, as Florence Nightingale did in her work… that we need to stand up for things that need courage.

“She helped improve the standards of nursing in her career.”

British nurse Florence Nightingale in the 1850s became known as the "Lady of the Lamp" for her reforming nursing of British soldiers during the Crimean War.

Ms Carey also highlighted the need for people to remember kindness in the workplace, after allegedly experiencing bullying during her time as a clinical nurse manager at the Esperance Hospital.

Ms Carey resigned in February 2015, alleging she was bullied by management in Esperance and Kalgoorlie.

“We need to bring a kinder workplace to society,” she said. 

“I think there has been a lot more improvement and a lot more talk, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

“We need to help leadership to see it… and bring in a restorative process.

“I continue to give talks about it.

“It’s nice to keep bringing awareness to workplace bullying to allow health care to improve because the damage is ultimately done to patients.

“It’s good to remember that we need courage to stand up for things and for world events.”

View the full list of Florence Nightingale Medal recipients here.