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Red Cross Celebrates the Contributions of Nurses
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Red Cross
 
May 13, 2009

If you have sought safety and relief in an American Red Cross shelter, you have probably met a Red Cross nurse.  Chances are a Red Cross nurse developed the safety training offered by the Red Cross office in your community.  A Red Cross nurse might have taught that course, as well.

During National Nurses Week, the Red Cross recognized the special link between nursing professionals and the mission of the American Red Cross.  In their profession, and as Red Crossers, nurses provide health care and teach healthy living to others. 

A Red Cross nurse assesses a young girl whose family has found safety from the 2007 California Wildfires at a Red Cross Shelter.
A Red Cross nurse assesses a young girl whose family has found safety from the 2007 California Wildfires at a Red Cross Shelter.

Photo by Talia Frenkel/American Red Cross


The event gathered together nurse colleagues from nursing schools, the military, government agencies, professional organizations and nurse-related publications.  The celebration also gave the Red Cross an opportunity to highlight outstanding nurses and nursing initiatives.

The Susan Hassmiller American Red Cross Nursing Award, established to engage nurses, was presented the American Red Cross of Greater Arkansas in Little Rock.  The chapter plans to use the accompanying grant to recruit nursing students and nurses to become Red Cross volunteers. 

BSN nursing students, other faculty and graduate students will be offered a two-day course that includes first aid, orientation to the Red Cross, disaster services, shelter operations and disaster health response.  Classes, taught at the chapter, count as clinical hours in the students’ required Community Health Nursing course.  Each trained student will also receive a personal invitation to become a Red Cross volunteer in their local community.

Diane St. Dennis, a volunteer with the American Red Cross of Silicon Valley, has been deployed 13 times in 15 years, 9/11 attacks in New York City and Hurricane Katrina.  She has also responded to floods, tornadoes, wildfires and apartment fires.  Diane has also recruited and trained more than 70 Red Cross disaster nurses.

Diane’s service was recognized by the traditional pinning of the Ann Magnussen pin by American Red Cross Chief Nurse Sharon Stanley.

The program concluded with the presentation of Jane Delano Society Scholarships to two student nurse volunteers.  Kelly Scott, a Red Cross volunteer at the Wyandotte County Chapter in Kansas City, Kansas, currently teaches basic water safety to community children.  Nursing student Sarah Osterholt has even jumped into a go-cart and raced to raise funds for the Mercer County Chapter in Celina, Ohio, for which she volunteers.

The Red Cross Nursing Service was formally established by Jane Delano in 1909.  The century of Red Cross nursing service is captured in this slide show:  The Past, Present and Future of Red Cross Nursing.

Red Cross nursing has had a major role in the historical evolution of nursing and nursing leadership in the United States, with many Red Cross nurses playing strategic roles in the development of the nursing profession.

Today, nurses serve in many specialty roles in Disaster Response and Preparedness, Health and Safety training, Service to Military Families, Biomedical and International Services. As in the past, nurses serve in leadership roles at the local, state and national level to promote and enhance the Red Cross humanitarian mission and to promote public health and safety. Student nurses also are involved in many aspects of local service delivery.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.



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