Nurses Day is a global celebration of the remarkable contributions that nurses make every day. Whether in a hospital, community health centre, or disaster zone, nurses have an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of their patients, families, and communities.
On this special day, we want to honour and thank all the nurses around the world who have continued to work tirelessly. We also want to highlight the exceptional work of two nurses who are part of the World Extreme Medicine faculty, Ben and Laura, who continue to go above and beyond in providing care and support in some of the most challenging and extreme environments.
Join us in celebrating all nurses, colleagues, and students who make a vital difference in the lives of so many people.
“If you have a desire to make a difference in the world and if you’re interested in working in extreme and remote environments, nursing can enable you to do just that! Learn the basics, pursue training opportunities and combine adventure and nursing.”
Can you tell us a little about your background and how you got into nursing?
I’ve been working in the Emergency Department in Sheffield for over 25 years now, and I absolutely love it. I’ve always had a passion for helping people, and nursing seemed like a natural fit for me. I started out as a staff nurse, but over the years I’ve progressed to become an Emergency Nurse Practitioner and Emergency Department Charge Nurse.
What led you to pursue a career in pre-hospital care?
I’ve always been interested in the outdoors and adventure, so when the opportunity came up to join Northumberland National Park Search and Rescue Team, I jumped at it. That experience really sparked my interest in pre-hospital care, and I’ve been involved in mountain rescue ever since. In 2001, I started working for Poles Apart as a location medic, which allowed me to combine my love of adventure with my nursing skills. I’ve worked on film and TV sets in some of the most extreme environments in the world, from Greenland to Antarctica.
I still continue my real passion for pre-hospital care under the umbrella of mountain rescue, I’ve been a team member of Edale Mountain Rescue Team since late 1994.
Can you tell us about your experiences working in Antarctica?
Working in Antarctica is unlike anything else I’ve ever done. It’s an incredibly remote and challenging environment, and it requires a unique set of skills to be able to provide medical care in such a harsh setting. I worked for Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions for six seasons, providing medical and rescue support to expeditions skiing to the South Pole, climbing Mount Vinson, and running the Antarctic Marathon and Ultra race. I’ve also helped to escort clients on flights to and from the South Pole, which is an experience that very few people ever get to have.
What do you enjoy most about teaching on World Extreme Medicine courses?
I’ve been a member of the World Extreme Medicine teaching faculty since 2008, and it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience. I love being able to share my knowledge and experience with others, and to help them develop the skills they need to provide medical care in extreme environments. One of my favourite courses to teach is the Polar Medicine course in Arctic Norway. It’s a challenging course, but it’s also incredibly rewarding to see students develop the skills they need to provide medical care in some of the most remote and challenging environments in the world.
What would you say to someone who is considering a career in nursing and adventure?
If you have a desire to make a difference in the world and if you’re interested in working in extreme and remote environments, nursing can enable you to do just that! Learn the basics, pursue training opportunities and combine adventure and nursing. A World Extreme Medicine course is the perfect place to start.
Global Head of Staff Health & Wellbeing
“For a long time, I felt insecure in my abilities to be a nurse/humanitarian aid worker. It definitely took a while to become comfortable with my role and my knowledge, and to feel like I was a nurse/humanitarian aid worker not just someone pretending to be one. So, just give it a go, never be afraid to ask questions, and have fun.”
Can you tell us a little about your background and how you got into nursing?
I’ve been working in the healthcare sector for over 10 years now, and I absolutely love it. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a passion for helping people, and nursing seemed like a natural fit for me. I started my career as a staff nurse in critical care before moving into emergency and pre-hospital medicine. Over the years my career has changed from managing major trauma in some of London’s busiest trauma centres to travelling the world as a humanitarian aid worker.
What led you to pursue a career in pre-hospital care and humanitarian work?
It’s human nature to push boundaries, to continue to learn, develop, and achieve more. It’s also human nature to put limits on ourselves and others. With a love for the outdoors and exploring new cultures I regularly sought opportunities to expand and take on new challenges outside of what was considered the ‘norm’ for nurses. From working as Medical Coordinator for Wembley Stadium in London, Medical Officer and Diver Medic for Raleigh International and Operation Wallacea in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico and South Africa, International Health Advisor for VSO in Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania and Bangladesh, Clinical Educator for The Leprosy Mission (TLM) in Nepal to working with refugees and migrants for Doctors of the World in the UK.
Can you tell us about your experiences working for Save the Children International?
Currently, I am the Global Head of Staff Health and Wellbeing leading the coordination of staff health, wellbeing and safeguarding frontline staff across 116 countries. Every year, millions of people are affected by crises, conflicts and disasters. Working for Save the Children International is an incredibly rewarding experience; from delivering vital life saving assistance to those affected on the frontline to working closely with teams of people across the world with different views and experiences. It is a challenging role but I’m proud to be part of such an amazing organisation that is committed to helping all children achieve their full potential by ensuring they grow up healthy, receive a good education and stay safe.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love being able to make a positive impact on people’s lives. It’s incredibly rewarding to see the difference each and every one of us can make, collectively, especially in crisis situations. I’m also a keen mountaineer, so being able to combine my passion for adventure with my nursing skills is a dream come true. In fact, I founded my own NGO, Almas Libres, in 2020, promoting women and girls’ participation in sport and I have been elected as the European Equality Ambassador for The Transformational Travel Council.
What would you say to someone who is considering a career in nursing or humanitarian work?
Being a nursing or humanitarian aid worker can be one of the most rewarding and challenging professions. For a long time, I felt insecure in my abilities to be a nurse/humanitarian aid worker. It definitely took a while to become comfortable with my role and my knowledge, and to feel like I was a nurse/humanitarian aid worker not just someone pretending to be one. So, just give it a go, never be afraid to ask questions, and have fun.
Thank you to Ben and Laura and all the nurses around the world for your work – we salute you!