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Inspirational mission work by Oxleas nurse Cherie

Today is International Nurses’ Day – an annual celebration of what our nurses do worldwide and an opportunity for us all to say thank you for their care and compassion.

Celebrated annually, the day takes place on the anniversary of the birth of nursing pioneer, Florence Nightingale this year’s theme is ‘our nurses, our future’.

Cherie Trew is Team Lead and Matron for our Bexley Rapid Response Service – but her care for those who need her nursing skills and compassion doesn’t end there.

To celebrate International Nurses Day, we’re sharing Cherie’s truly inspirational story of international nursing overseas where she provided medical and psychological support to the victims of a national disaster.

Show your support for nurses on International Nurses Day using the hashtag #IND2023 and don’t forget to tag @OxleasNHS

It’s been three months since devastating earthquakes killed thousands and displaced thousands more in Turkey and Syria.

As a member of frontline medical aid charity UK-MED and UKEMT, the country’s emergency medical team, Cherie is always ready at a moment’s notice to respond to a humanitarian crisis overseas. She has been a member since 2014 and has completed years of training for her emergency role.

Here in her own words, Cherie talks about her experience…

“I was deployed to Karhramanmaras in Southern Turkey which was the site of the first earthquake’s epicentre – the area was devastated by two initial earthquakes of 7.6 and 7.7 magnitude on 6 February. With a further earthquake of 6.4 magnitude in Antakya two weeks later, these were the most devastating earthquakes in Turkish history.

“The role of UKEMT in Turkey was to provide medical and psychological support to the affected communities as many healthcare staff were either killed or injured and hospitals and clinics destroyed. We provide this care via static and mobile clinics. The mobile clinics were a lifeline allowing us to travel to very remote areas to provide care.

“I had the opportunity to meet such lovely, resilient people and to work alongside such amazing practitioners from around the world. Our translators were national medical students, many of them victims of the earthquake themselves.

“The reality of humanitarian work was sleeping in a one-person tent, contending with freezing temperatures and aftershocks. But that was a very small sacrifice for me to make over a three-week period – some families in Turkey will experience these challenges for some time to come. The kindness and compassion of people, despite all of their suffering, is something I will remember for a long time to come.

“I am extremely proud to have been part of the UKEMT’s response and also very grateful to Oxleas for supporting my deployment. My experiences, although at times overwhelming, were very rewarding and life-affirming. This experience has definitely developed my clinical practice, which will in turn further enhance the care I provide to our patients locally.”

Lisa Cooper, Associate Director for Adult Community Services in Bexley, said: “We are all incredibly proud of Cherie and have been inspired by the stories of her work with UK-MED. What better day to tell her story and inspire others than on International Nurses’ Day.”

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