Regimental Sergeant Major Joint Task Force 633, Warrant Officer Class One Kim Felmingham.
Regimental Sergeant Major Joint Task Force 633, Warrant Officer Class One Kim Felmingham. SGT W. Guthrie

First hand account of what it's like to serve as a nurse

STAFF Sergeant Kim Felmingham was the first medic on the scene when a truck carrying about 30 East Timorese left the road and plunged down a cliff.

Despite the large number of seriously injured personnel and limited medical supplies, she provided triage, treatment and support before coordinating the evacuation of casualties.

The dedicated nurse has been awarded the Nursing Service Cross for her outstanding devotion to duty while providing medical assistance to East Timorese civilians following a vehicle accident near Dili on January 14, 2000.

According to her citation the reason "that all of the injured survived was largely due to her competency and skill".

Recognised for her professionalism and calm demeanour, Sgt Felmingham's award was bestowed on her by Queen Elizabeth II.

The Nursing Service Cross is awarded to members of the Australian Defence Force who demonstrate outstanding devotion and competence in the performance of nursing duties, or perform an act of exceptional dedication.

Introduced in 1989, the Nursing Service Cross is a four-stepped silver cross inlaid with transparent red enamel.

It is accompanied by a ribbon of white for purity, gold to represent the colour of sand and a red vertical stripe which is the colour of the sedge flower. Twenty-nine have been awarded so far, including one bar.


Q&A with Kim Felmingham:

Tell us about the day you were invested with the decoration?

On March 25, 2000, I was joined by family and friends at Yarralumla where we met with the other recipients and their families. It was a great day and being awarded the Nursing Service Cross (NSC) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in front of my family and friends was surreal.

What does it mean to you to be recognised with a decoration?

As a medic in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps, to be awarded the NSC is a significant honour; however, it is not lost on me that the positive outcome of the majority of the Timorese casualties was due to the first aid and assistance that was provided by other soldiers prior to my arrival on the scene.

I was able to provide medical treatment to all casualties due to the combined efforts of the officers and soldiers on the ground, who assisted me until the evacuation of all casualties was completed.

Why did you join the ADF and how does it make you feel to serve your country?

I joined the Army because from a young age I wanted to be a Victorian Police Officer; 30 years later and I am still serving without any intention of leaving any time soon. My current appointment as the Regimental Sergeant Major of 17th Combat Service Support Brigade allows me to observe our soldiers doing amazing things. I am passionate about soldiering and empowering all soldiers to achieve great things. There is no other occupation that enables you to be part of a professional team, with a long and distinguished history such as the Australian Defence Force. In every role and appointment that I have had, Defence has provided me with the opportunity to learn, be challenged and develop both personally and professionally.

Get your Nursing Service Cross coin with the paper today for just $3.