29 Aug 2022

NZ nurse to work as medic near Ukraine front lines

10:50 am on 29 August 2022

By Sally Wenley

A New Zealand nurse who has left her job at Middlemore Hospital to be a combat nurse in Ukraine says she will be the sole medic in her team.

New Zealand registered nurse Shannon Taylor has left her job at Middlemore Hospital to be a combat nurse in Ukraine.

Shannon Taylor said she trusted the experience and their judgement of the team she will be joining in Ukraine. Photo: Supplied

Shannon Taylor is preparing to trade the emergency department for the invaded country and will join a small group of international volunteers risking their lives to help civilians near the front lines.

She calls it a privilege.

"I've always just dreamed of being in those areas, just being able to critically think on the spot and be able to provide first aid to those fighting for what is right," she said.

The team Taylor is joining supplies aid, support and fuel to the front line along with organising convoys to get people into safe surrounding cities.

The team's only medic was injured on the job, she said.

"They were doing a rescue and he was injured by artillery.

"He survived and he's returning home so he's fine. I'll be joining them as the medic."

The New Zealand government warns of the dangers of travelling to Ukraine amid armed conflict, stating on SafeTravel "there is a real risk to life".

Last week, a New Zealand soldier was killed fighting in Ukraine while on leave without pay.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said there were two New Zealanders registered on SafeTravel as being in Ukraine, but conceded it was hard to get the full picture of actual numbers.

Taylor knows of the risks but is not deterred.

"I trust my team, I trust their experience and their judgement in going into these different missions. So I trust that we will be safe as a team, if we stick together.

"I understand that the government is advising against it, I just think if it was little old Kawerau, where I'm from, I just would like to do as much to help as I can," she said.

While she was confident, her family was apprehensive, especially her mum.

"There's only so much that I share with my with my mum because she does get really worried.

"They do support my decision. They know that this has been a life-long dream of mine. And they are really scared," Taylor said.

Along with military boots, Taylor will equip herself with body armour and a helmet to carry out the job.

She was also putting a call out for sanitary items she can take to Ukraine.

"I'm reaching out to see if there can be any donations of tampons because they're really beneficial over there. Like I can use them for epistaxis and gunshot wounds," Taylor said.

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