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Digital narrative illustrates story of WWII nurse hero

The story of an Australian nursing hero has been immortalised through a student-led digital narrative.

Marking the first stage of CQUni Research Centre's Everyday Nursing Heroes project, the creation tells the story of Ellen Savage (1912-1985), who survived the sinking of the hospital ship Centaur during World War II.

“Although in great pain, with her mouth and eyes full of oil and salt, she stayed afloat and made it to a raft holding many injured and burnt men,” a voiceover says. “Sister Savage, despite her own severe injuries, did what she could for the injured. And as sharks circled and ships passed, planes flew overheard without seeing them, she boosted morale with singalongs, group prayer and simple poetry.”

Facilitated by Matt Langdon, an expert in heroism training, the narrative aims to encourage viewers to imagine themselves acting heroically in everyday situations, and in return, enhance their effectiveness as leaders and bring about positive change.

CQUni Professor Margaret McAllister says the team behind the project invested many hours of research into the story of Savage. "From there, CQUni alumnus Irene Waters wrote a short biography of 300 words before digital media lecturer James Picton digitally illustrated the story.

"The team then sought the expertise of nursing historian Dr Madonna Grehan to proof the material before it was published and distributed."

McAllister says the team will now seek additional funding to create a library of digital narratives and already have two nursing heroes in mind.

"These include Helene Donnelly, a nurse based in the United Kingdom who refused to be a bystander to the substandard care and staffing failings that led to the deaths of hundreds of people in Staffordshire.

"And, Alex Wubbel, an American burns nurse who protected the rights of an unconscious patient, despite being assaulted and arrested by an intrusive Utah police officer."

Click below to watch the digital narrative.

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