Lieutenant Commander Amy York, a Nursing Officer at HMAS Cerberus, was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Queen’s Birthday 2014 Honours List, for her meritorious devotion to duty in the fields of general and perioperative military nursing across a range of healthcare settings in the Australian Defence Force during her decade of Service in the Navy.
Lieutenant Commander York joined the Navy in 2004 and has packed in many experiences that have taken her far beyond her home town of Bendigo, Victoria. While some experiences have been challenging and confronting, she insists that joining Navy has been one of the best decisions of her life.
“The opportunities I’ve had have been amazing and have helped me achieve so much. The people I work with, the Navy team, are amazing people,” Lieutenant Commander York said.
General and perioperative nursing in the Australian Defence Force is different to what’s usual in the civilian hospital environment. Defence requires nurses to have a mix of skills besides clinical nursing, such as managing sailors, other nurses, Australian Public Service staff and a multitude of administrative tasks specific to Navy and Defence requirements while serving ashore. On Operations, the focus changes and the strength of Australian Defence Force nurses and health professionals is their flexibility and determination.
“It’s important to stay positive. Resupply of medical equipment can be problematic at times and taking care of your shipmates can be a challenge. Seeing the person you sat across from at breakfast injured or having to operate on them can be very confronting. But I wouldn't have it any other way. If our people are in danger serving our country, keeping our nation safe, I want to be part of the team that provides their care.”
Lieutenant Commander York is proud of being recognised for her work with Navy and hopes her seven year old daughter, Isabel, is proud too, when she’s old enough to really understand what mum has been doing.
“It’s very important to have strong, passionate female role models and I hope that I provide that for my daughter, like my mother did for me. If it weren't for the support of my family, I wouldn't have been able to achieve the things I have,” she said.
Lieutenant Commander York is currently in charge of the Personnel Support Unit at Cerberus which is a varied and challenging role. Although currently removed from using her nursing skills, she’s still caring for the welfare of sailors who are there for respite or a transition in their careers. After having served with Operations SUMATRA 1 and 2, Operation PADANG ASSIST and Operation SLIPPER, she’s enjoying the change of pace and the routine of having her family by her side.