8/15/2003 - Carol Etherington, MSN, assistant professor of Nursing, was recently presented the prestigious 2003 International Achievement Award from the Florence Nightingale International Foundation (FNIF) in Geneva, Switzerland.
She was chosen for the award among all other nurses here in the U.S. and internationally, for her impact and outstanding contributions in advocacy for vulnerable and victimized populations, including her work with child abuse, ethics, human rights, and victims of disasters.
Etherington has traveled to Bosnia, Cambodia, Angola, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Tajikistan, Honduras, and Poland during times of war or natural disasters. She is currently President of the USA board of Medicines Sans Frontieres (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders. She has also worked with the International Medical Corps and the International Red Cross to provide acute care to victims, conduct training for local doctors and nurses, and negotiate with government and health officials to integrate mental health into health systems.
Etherington has also worked on several missions here at home, including the aftermath of September 11, 2001 in New York City, the earthquake of 1994 in Los Angeles, Hurricane Andrew in Florida in 1992, and other natural disasters and emergency situations here in Nashville.
The FNIF award is presented every two years to one nurse who has substantially contributed to two of the following areas: nursing education, care, research, or management. Etherington gave a speech upon accepting her award, which she says was warmly received, despite being somewhat controversial.
I said some highly charged things about the role and responsibility of nursing to the global populations.
Etherington says she chose not to focus on equally important issues like the war in Iraq, or the aftermath of September 11, because plenty of other people are still talking about them. She would rather draw attention to the places and the people that arent making the nightly news.
Very few words, however, have addressed the plight of those caught in the 27-year Angolan civil war or those in Chechnya or Tajikistan. Today, literally as I speak, what must those in Congo or Liberia be experiencing? It is to those populations, so often without a voice, that I focus the remainder of time, Etherington told the crowd.
Dignitaries and advocates for nursing from around the world were on hand to listen and to congratulate Etherington, including the Mother of the King of Jordan, HRH, Princess Muna. Shes a very strong patriot of nursing in Jordan and an advocate of womens rights, Etherington said.
She says she hopes to continue to build on the relationships she formed while in Geneva.
I want to stay in touch with the nurses from the ICN, certainly to follow up with the Jordanian contacts, as well as many others. It was fantastic for me, but Im hoping also for the school, for us to be able to maintain these relationships in the future, Etherington said.
Etherington is considering another mission later in the year, possibly to Afghanistan. She says her term as President of the USA board of MSF will soon come to an end, and shell again have more time to travel to areas of need.©2013 Vanderbilt University Medical Center