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NZ nurse to join Red Cross team in Banda Aceh

23 January 2005

New Zealand nurse to join Red Cross team in Banda Aceh

Nurse Marion Picken will soon put skills learnt in Wellington Hospital's Emergency Department to the test in a Red Cross field hospital in Banda Aceh.

Marion will leave New Zealand on Tuesday to spend six weeks with the 100-bed MASH-type tent hospital.

Marion, who is an Emergency Department clinical nurse coordinator for Capital and Coast District Health Board, will work with other Red Cross medical professionals from around the world to staff the hospital.

"I am expecting really basic conditions but I think sometimes the basics are all you really need," Marion says.

"The Red Cross has high standards and we have got very skilled people who are well-prepared to work in these kinds of crisis-situations, so it is great to be part of that team."

Marion says her experience as a hospital emergency department nurse will help her in Banda Aceh.

"Working in an emergency department you never know what is going to come through the door and you become multi-skilled so you can deal with looking after small sick children to a big multi-trauma and you learn how to keep calm when chaos hits."

The Wellington Hospital Emergency Department had been supportive of her Red Cross mission and donated an emergency medicine book for her to take.

Because of the tremendous support from New Zealanders for the tsunami appeal, Marion says she will feel a big responsibility for helping to ensure their money is well-spent in the region.

"When people donate money you have to be really accountable for it and people can rest assured that we will be."

The New Zealand public have so far donated $7 million to the Red Cross South Asia Tsunami appeal.

Donations can still be made by dialling 0900 31 100 (an automatic $20 donation), by cheque to the South Asia Tsunami Appeal, PO Box 12-140, Thorndon, Wellington, at the Red Cross website, www.redcross.org.nz , at Woolworths, Countdown and Foodtown supermarkets and at all major banks.

All money raised will go directly to the appeal, as New Zealand Red Cross appeal administration costs for special appeals are covered by income from Red Cross shops and first aid training.

ENDS

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