Editor’s Note: National Nurses Week is celebrated May 6-12. More information is available through the American Nurses Association.
By Molly Dalton, American Red Cross
Nurses have been part of the American Red Cross almost since its inception. Today nurses serve the organization in many different capacities, from management and supervisory roles to directly helping individuals impacted by disasters as part of disaster response teams.
The Red Cross Nursing Service was established in 1909 by Jane Delano, a national leader in the nursing community. Red Cross nurses were the first public health nurses and served with the military in World Wars I and II.
Red Cross nurses today serve in a variety of roles across all lines of Red Cross business. They serve in management and supervisory positions, as employees and volunteers, as providers of direct care to individuals affected by disasters, as teachers of life-saving Red Cross courses, and as representatives of the Red Cross with local and national community partners.
INTERNATIONAL SERVICES The National Nursing Committee announces it is supporting the Measles and Rubella Initiative with a goal of raising $50,000 in the next year to help control the spread of measles around the world. Find out more here. Red Cross volunteer nurses help restore family links during times of international disasters and provide services to displaced refugees who relocate to the United States.
DISASTER SERVICES Red Cross nurses respond to local disasters as members of local Disaster Action Teams. They deploy on national disasters where they provide health triage skills to individuals and families impacted by disasters, taking care of people’s immediate needs such as replacing lost medications and eyeglasses.
PREPAREDESS, HEALTH AND SAFETY SERVICES Red Cross nurses serve as instructors in such courses as CPR/AED, First Aid and Babysitting. They are involved in teaching Nurse Assistant Training. Nurses also promote disaster preparedness education in their communities.
SERVICE TO THE ARMED FORCES Red Cross nurses work with active duty, reservists, members of the National Guard, veterans and their families. They provide nursing support to service members in military health care systems and to veterans in Veterans’ Affairs facilities. They prepare military personnel and their families for deployment and help link deployed military personnel and their families during times of crisis.
BIOMEDICAL SERVICES Red Cross nurses serve in management and supervisory positions throughout Biomedical Services both at headquarters and across the country in Red Cross Blood Services Regions. Nursing volunteers help educate their communities about the need for blood, assist Blood Services Regions in securing sponsors for blood drives and work with schools of nursing to increase blood donations.
Read more about Red Cross nursing here.