A commemorative global service celebrating nursing reflects a tradition of nursing service stretching back to the earliest days of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Network.
The International Year of the Nurse celebrates practicing nurses, midwives and healthcare workers committed to serving the people in their communities and achieving a healthy world.
This year the occasion was a special one, because 2010 marks the centennial of the death of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
For the American Red Cross, something else was special about the nondenominational observance held in National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
At the event, the global nursing community honored three American Red Cross nurse volunteers, each a recipient of nursing’s highest international award, the Florence Nightingale Medal: Meredith Buck of Chalfont, Pennsylvania; Susan Hassmiller of Princeton, New Jersey; and Diana Whaley of Rockwood, Tennessee.
These distinguished nurses represent the thousands of nurses and nursing students serving their communities as Red Cross volunteers. Red Cross nurses respond to disasters, teach life-saving health and safety classes, serve on leadership committees, and more.
During this National Nurses Week (May 6-12) Red Cross nurses aren’t looking for accolades, although accolades are due. Instead, Red Cross nurses are serving under difficult conditions in Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee, helping people who fled their homes after a severe weather system caused record flooding and tornadoes.
Service is at the core of the work taking place in response to historic floods and tornadoes across the South this week. That’s why the American Red Cross and nursing just seem to go hand-in-hand.