Nursing Service Cross


The Nursing Service Cross recognises outstanding performance of nursing duties in both operational and non-operational situations.


Nurses have always played a vital role in the Australian Defence Forces.

Queen Victoria presented Florence Nightingale with a specially designed jewel in 1855 for her services in the Crimean War.

The Nursing Service Cross was introduced in Australia in 1989 to recognise outstanding performance of nursing duties. The cross is primarily awarded to members of the Australian Defence Force.

Prior to 1989 there was no specific award for Australian nurses. They could be awarded the Imperial Royal Red Cross.

About 250 Australian nurses received one of the two classes of the cross between the Boer War and the Vietnam War.

Past recipients

Read about Corporal Sarah Longshaw NSC who was awarded a Nursing Service Cross in 2004 for outstanding service as the Medical Assistant on Operation Catalyst with the Australian Army Training Team in Northern Iraq.

Search the Australian Honours List for past recipients of the Nursing Service Cross.

View the numbers awarded for the Nursing Service Cross.

How it is awarded

The Nursing Service Cross is awarded by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister for Defence.

The Nursing Service Cross may be awarded posthumously.

Recipients have the post-nominals of NSC. Those awarded a bar or bars may also use ‘and Bar’ or ‘and Bars’ after their name.

Medal design

Nursing Service Cross - front Nursing Service Cross - back

Nursing Service Cross - front and back

The Nursing Service Cross is a four-stepped sterling silver cross ensigned with the Crown of St Edward.

The obverse bears a transparent red enamel cross insert overlaid on a flecked pattern radiating from the centre of the medal.

The medal has a sterling silver suspender bar.

Medal ribbon

The medal ribbon has a central red vertical band flanked by two white vertical banks and a further two vertical gold bands.

Print fact sheet

The information on this page is available as a printable fact sheet.

Last Updated: 23 September, 2008