Nurses have always helped the American Red Cross fulfill its mission. Nurse volunteers provided Red Cross services in 1889 when floodwaters wiped out 1,600 homes in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. And this spring, nurse volunteers were in Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa as the Red Cross opened shelters, provided emotional support and handed out relief supplies.
To ensure future generations of nurses, the Red Cross runs several programs that engage student nurse volunteers. Often fulfilling course clinical requirements in the process, students educate blood donors, teach preparedness skills, staff booths at health fairs and learn about community disaster response.
The Jane Delano Student Nurse Scholarship is another Red Cross program supporting student nurses. It advances nursing as a career option and involves new nurses in the Red Cross. Three student nurse volunteers are the most recent recipients.
As an AmeriCorps Volunteer at the American Red Cross of Montana (Great Falls), Christine Hyde recruited volunteers in the state’s 56 counties—increasing their numbers from under a dozen to more than 200. After AmeriCorps she stayed on as a volunteer, responding to disasters, coordinating disaster training, teaching health and safety courses and donating blood.
Currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the University of Colorado College of Nursing, Hyde says, “I often borrow two words from the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross to describe the values by which I seek to conduct my career: Humanity and Impartiality.”
Janeen Jansen, a volunteer with the American Red Cross of Southwestern New Mexico (Las Cruces), strives to involve fellow nursing students in the Red Cross. She recruits students from a nearby nursing school as disaster volunteers, and this year arranged for the Red Cross to address the New Mexico State University School of Nursing General Assembly, the institution at which she is a B.S. candidate.
Also a member of the chapter’s local Disaster Action Team, Jansen says, “It is an honor and a privilege…being a ray of hope in the life of another and to have the personal satisfaction of knowing you did the best you possibly could for another.”
A Red Cross nurse volunteer since 2002, Springer has served as a leader, an instructor and a disaster responder. She developed the Disaster Health Services arm at the Central Minnesota Chapter (St. Cloud), and is currently working with national headquarters to develop a Disaster Health Services curriculum for the National Student Nurses Association.
After graduation from the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at the University of Minnesota, Springer plans to continue as a Red Cross Disaster Health Services advisor and support the goals of the American Red Cross National Nurses Committee, a body on which she once served. She also hopes to be part of a Red Cross nursing center under consideration in Minnesota.
Student nurse volunteers have numerous opportunities to serve and advance their skills at the Red Cross. To volunteer, contact the Red Cross State Nurse Liaison in your area or your local Red Cross.