A nurse on the edge of the desert

Interntionally recognised nurse and Massey alumni Andrew Cameron has written his first book, published by Massey University Press.

Cover of A Nurse on the Edge of the Desert.

Massey alumni Andrew Cameron is your typical, humble, “number 8 wire”, Kiwi bloke. He is also an internationally recognised registered nurse and midwife, recipient of the prestigious Florence Nightingale Medal and an experienced Red Cross nurse. 

A Nurse on the Edge of the Desert captures his remarkable and compelling life story with mordant humour, wisdom and pathos. It’s gripping, engaging and inspiring. The book, published by Massey University Press, will be launched in Wellington on Monday night. If you would like to attend, click here to register.

In devoting his life to nursing, Mr Cameron, who was awarded the Massey University Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 2015, has readily embraced danger and hardship in the hope of helping and improving humankind. Choosing challenge over comfort and adopting a “why not?” attitude when deciding whether to work in some of the world’s most inhospitable places, — Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq and Georgia — his philanthropy, compassion and skills set him apart. 

While living a nomadic life (although he did find time to marry and have two daughters), Mr Cameron’s nursing career has oscillated between his high-octane work for the International Red Cross and living in some of Australia’s most remote settlements. The Outback holds strong appeal for Mr Cameron and he has worked in a range of local communities — some of them rocked by heart-breaking stories of alcoholism and domestic violence. When not nursing in war or post-conflict zones, he is a director of nursing and ambulance driver at the Birdsville Clinic, one of Australia’s most remote health-posts, on the edge of the Simpson Desert.

No stranger to working under mortar fire throughout his career, Mr Cameron has encountered and dealt with all manner of diseases, war wounds, road accident traumas, snake bites and broken limbs. He has also attended suicides and murders; completed a term at an Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone; delivered hundreds of babies; helped raise a family; and met many amazing people. 

Working alongside other esteemed health professionals from all over the world, his mandate is always to improve health outcomes for his patients. He also finds time to create flourishing vegetable gardens wherever his work takes him — a colourful counterbalance to his extreme nursing life. 

About the author: Andrew Cameron grew up in Hawke’s Bay and specialised in emergency nursing, public health and rural and isolated practice. He has a master’s degree in tropical public health and has served on humanitarian aid missions with Red Cross all over the world. He is the recipient of many awards, including: Australian Nurse of the Year, the Order of Australia (for services to the Nursing Profession), Massey University’s Distinguished Alumni Medal and La Trobe University’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

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