Today we pay respect to Dame Claire Bertschinger
Dame Commander of British Empire, Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire
(1953 – present)
Claire Bertschinger grew up in a lower-middle-class British family as if the financial hardships weren’t enough, Claire had extreme dyslexia and couldn’t read until she was 14 years old.
After struggling through training as a nurse and a short stint working in the UK, she took a position as a field medical officer for Operation Drake, an expedition with Colonel John Blashford-Snell and the Scientific Exploration Society in Panama, Papua New Guinea, and Sulawesi. Her experiences on the expedition set the course of her career in stone. She would spend her days helping the needy.
Dame Claire joined the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), thanks to her status as a dual national was able to work in over a dozen active war zones. – including Afghanistan, Kenya, Lebanon, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Liberia
As of 2016, she is Director for the Diploma in Tropical Nursing course at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
In 1984, Bertschinger was working as an ICRC field nurse located in Ethiopia during the famine. She rendered medical care and distributed food. Bertschinger was extremely vocal about the lack of support and food available for the various relief organizations working to feed the starving in Ethiopia with an interview broadcast in October of 1984 on British TV>
One viewer just happened to be Bog Geldorf, who contacted Bertschinger and between the two of then dreamed up “Band Aid,” followed by “Live AID” and a half dozen “aids” concerts since. Over $250,000,000 was raised.
Claire Bertschinger was honored as Dame Commander of British Empire by the Queen in 2009
She was made a Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire in 2012
Her other awards include:
Soka University (Japan) in 2019, Award of Highest Honor, “in recognition of her enduring contributions to the promotion of education, culture and the cause of world peace.”
Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion 2018, Honorary Fellow
Five formidable women who shaped the Red Cross – 23rd March 2012
Voted one of 10 most influential female nurses of all time 10th June 2012
Voted one of top 20 most influential people in the nursing field in September 2010
International Human Rights and Nursing Awards 2007, from the International Centre for Nursing Ethics
“Woman of the Year Window to the World” 2005
In 1991 awarded “Florence Nightingale Medal” 1991 “to honor those persons who have distinguished themselves in times of war by exceptional courage and devotion to the wounded, sick or disabled or civilian victims of conflict or disaster
“Bish Medal” by the Scientific Exploration Society 1985 “for courage and determination in the face of adversity.”
Dame Claire holds Honorary Doctorate’s from :
Anglia Ruskin University 2012, Doctor in Health Sciences
Stafford University in 2011,
Robert Gordon Aberdeen University in 2010, Doctor in Education
Du Montfort University in 2009, Doctor of Science
Brunel University 2008, in Social Science &
MSC in Medical Anthropology Brunel University 1997
— Not too bad for a poor dyslexic girl from the city.
Today’s Nurse Trivial – Louisa May Alcott was a Nurse
Writer & Poet (1832 – 1888) Louisa May Alcott served as a nurse
during the civil war, she contracted typhoid pneumonia, forcing her to give up nursing. Although her service was short, it made an impression on Alcott, and the influence can be seen in many of her 30 books. Hospital Sketches, published in 1863, a narration of the daily struggles Nurses face, was the beginning of Alcott’s popularity and led to her publishing over 30 books