By Laureen Martinez, Chief Public Relations Officer
When I ask people ( and believe me I talk to a lot of folks in our community) what they think of when they think of the Red Cross, most say disasters, blood and CPR. What I find missing from the list is something I think should be at the top. Nurses.
If you look at old photos of the Red Cross you’ll see the world-recognized emblem on white nursing caps on the tops of women’s heads all dressed in crisp, clean uniforms. These iconic images remind us of the important role nurses have taken in the history of the Red Cross….so where are they now?
The fact is nurses are still a HUGE part of the Red Cross. They are often in shelters, at the volunteer leadership table, they may even be disguised as volunteers in other service areas. Nurses are everywhere. And rightly so. Nowadays they blend in, but make no mistake, nurses are trained, educated professionals who excel in so many aspects of Red Cross services.
This became clear to me when American Red Cross Chief Nurse Sharon Stanley came to Orlando to meet with our staff and volunteers. Her words were fascinating. She said there are currently more than 5,000 nurses across the Red Cross which makes up about 88% of our disaster services workers. During her visit she also said, “Part of my mission is revitalizing nursing in the Red Cross.” Stanley said to get there we must engage our nurses and see them as more than individuals who can take a person’s blood pressure and temperature. Nurses are on the front lines – safe guarding our community’s health. And when you consider the nurses in training at our local colleges and universities and the nurse assistants, you realize there is a wealth of talent and individuals willing make a difference.
I think the Red Cross has the power to improve health services in communities hit by disasters and recovering from emergencies. Nurses can not only help treat survivors but they can educate, lead and improve our communities. They are, after all, Red Cross superstars!! And they are most certainly here to stay!
If you are in the health field and interested in using your skills at the Red Cross please go to www.midfloridaredcross.org and start the new volunteer process!