Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Humanitarian, International Nursing and the New Zealand and Recipients of the Florence Nightingale Medal 1920-1999

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posted on 2021-11-03, 01:32 authored by Caughley, Jill

The purpose of this study was to explore the history of the Florence Nightingale Medal and in particular its New Zealand recipients. New Zealand nurses have, over many years, contributed to international nursing by providing service during conflicts and disasters. Several have worked with the Red Cross and, of these nurses, twenty-two have been awarded its highest honour, the Florence Nightingale Medal. This thesis related the history of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and its place in humanitarian and international nursing. It traces New Zealand nursing's involvement in this, and offers a history of the New Zealand recipients of the Florence Nightingale Medal, 1920-1999. The personal and professional stories of five New Zealand nurses who were awarded the medal between 1969 and 1999 were gathered through oral history interviews. Their stories are used to consider in more detail the motivations and experiences of nurses who work in these circumstances, and the way in which humanitarian nursing practice and Red Cross principles shaped and challenged their practice. The thesis therefore documents the work of five New Zealand nurses who have demonstrated exceptional courage, dedication, and commitment to humanitarian causes and international nursing practice. As an exploratory and descriptive study which has drawn on both historical and contemporary sources of information, it raises awareness about the Red Cross and its nurses, humanitarian nursing practice in particular, and international nursing in general.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Arts (Applied)

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health


Wood, Pamela