Nurses supporting other nurses—that’s the idea behind the American Red Cross State Nurse Liaison Network. State Nurse Liaisons work with health organizations in their communities to recruit volunteers. And within the Red Cross, they ensure that health care professionals’ volunteer experiences are rewarding.
At the Red Cross, nurse volunteers practice to the full extent of their education and training. A nurse volunteer might provide direct services: responding to disasters, representing the Red Cross at health fairs, volunteering in military clinics and hospitals, promoting blood collections or staffing first aid stations. Red Cross nurses might teach and develop health and safety courses, function as managers and supervisors or serve in local and national governance roles.
Geoff Jutzy is the Oregon State Nurse Liaison, and a volunteer at the Oregon Trail Chapter in Portland. He wants to involve more student nurses in the Red Cross, creating a force of long-term Red Cross nurse leaders and volunteers. “It would be a win-win for everyone,” he said. “In these times when jobs are scarce, networking and resume-building are valuable assets that the Red Cross can offer.”
Jutzy started volunteering when he was a nursing student; the 2009 volunteer work fulfilled clinical requirements for his Community Nursing course. When that class was over, he stayed on. “The commitment and passion of Red Cross employees and volunteers to serve our fellow humans has always impressed me,” Jutzy said.
He talks about a day spent responding to a devastating tornado in a nearby town. “Watching the community come together to help each other clean up the mess was awesome,” Jutzy said. “Being a part of that, and aiding their efforts, was really cool.”
Trinidad de Jesus Arguello
Volunteer Trinidad Arguello is the State Nurse Liaison for New Mexico. A psychiatric nurse by profession, Arguello became interested in the Red Cross following a huge fire in a neighboring village more than a decade ago. She started thinking about how people get evacuated during an emergency, which led her to the Red Cross. Training followed, and soon she was a member of the American Red Cross in New Mexico (Taos) Disaster Action Team.
“I’ve always been interested in how communities take care of people when there is a disaster,” she said. Arguello runs a 24/7 program for the severely mentally ill, and recruits her co-workers to also join the Red Cross. She talks about the value of psychiatric nurses on every disaster, because families face such high stress during emergencies.
“Just knowing that I am part of an organization that is able to make a difference makes me feel so positive,” Arguello said. “We can help people faced with disasters and we do help them. It makes me feel good as an individual.”Nurse Trinidad de Jesus Arguello
Nurses and student nurses are involved in paid and volunteer capacities at all levels and in all lines of business throughout the American Red Cross. To volunteer, please contact the American Red Cross State Nurse Liaison in your area or contact your local Red Cross.