Volunteer Nurses

  • Volunteer Nurse Helps Baby in Red Cross Shelter

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Nurses and the American Red Cross

Nurses have always been a cornerstone of the American Red Cross. Since the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1888 and the Johnstown floods in 1889, Red Cross nurses have provided assistance during times of disaster and conflict. The Heritage Newsletter, Nursing Matters: Past and Present, is chock-full of stories about the extraordinary service of Red Cross nurses.

The Red Cross Nursing Service was formally established by Jane Delano in 1909. Red Cross nursing has also had a major role in the historical evolution of nursing and nursing leadership in the United States. Red Cross nurses like Jane Delano, Clara Noyes and Julia Stimson have played pivotal roles in American nursing.

Nurse Involvement Today

More than 15,000 nurses continue to be involved in paid and volunteer capacities at all levels throughout the American Red Cross. These activities consist of:
  • Providing direct services: e.g. local Disaster Action Teams (DAT), Health Fairs, volunteer in military clinics and hospitals, promoting blood collection team, first aid stations
  • Teaching and developing courses: CPR/First Aid, Automatic emergency Defibrillator(AED), Disaster Health Services, Nurse Assistant Training, Babysitting, Family Caregiving
  • Acting in management and supervisory roles including: Chapter and Blood Services region executives
  • Functioning in leadership roles: local board member and the national Board of Governors

Red Cross Programs that Engage Nurse Volunteers

Protecting Life, Promoting Health: Nurses/Student Nurses for Blood Donations is a public education program to encourage first-time and repeat blood donors, and to decrease donor stress. The program is delivered in a community by American Red Cross volunteer nurses and student nurses.

More Opportunities for Nurse Involvement

The Chief Nurse is responsible for supporting and strengthening paid and volunteer nurse involvement throughout the American Red Cross, maintaining liaison with all business lines. The National Chair of Nursing, the National Nursing Committee, and the State Nurse Liaison field infrastructure make up the current infrastructure to support and guide nursing across the organization. In addition, the Chief Nurse represents Red Cross nursing with external professional organizations, educational institutions, and health focused groups.