Red Cross needs health professionals

The American Red Cross relies on more than 20,000 nurses and other health professionals who bring our mission to life each day. If you’re a nurse, nursing student or other health professional, we need your help! There are volunteer opportunities in direct service, leadership and behind-the-scenes.  A few examples are:

 • Disaster Health Services –team members and leaders

• Disaster Mental Health Services –team members and leaders

• Pillowcase Project Instructor (educating 3rd-5th graders about disasters)

• Blood Donor Ambassador Leader

• Nursing Network Regional Nurse Leaders and team members

• Service to the Armed Forces Hero Care Case Management

We hope that you consider volunteering with the Red Cross – you can have a meaningful impact by serving individuals and communities.

Get started here.

What does a Red Cross nurse do during disaster?

Story and photos by Vivi Engen, American Red Cross Intern, Minnesota Region

The Disaster Health Services Nursing kit is condensed into one duffle bag and can serve up to 50 people at a shelter.
The Disaster Health Services Nursing kit is condensed into one duffle bag and can serve up to 50 people at a shelter.

During large-scale disasters, Red Cross nurses serve as the initial medical response at a shelter. They assess basic medical needs of clients and address quick and easy fixes, such as a cut or sprain. Anything more severe is treated at a hospital.

To speed nursing response during disaster, the Disaster Health Services team in Minnesota recently introduced a nursing kit that will be used at shelters during responses across the state.

The kit, which is condensed inside a single duffle bag, provides a quick-response supply for up to 50 individuals. Supplies include over-the-counter medication, wound dressings, CPR masks, bandages, protective gear and more.

Kami Buccellato goes through the supplies inside the Nursing Kit.
Kami Buccellato goes through the supplies inside the Nursing Kit.

“The kit provides the nursing staff with the materials needed to serve as a starting point for clients,” says Kami Buccellato, the Twin Cities Deputy Lead for Disaster Health Services and one of the creators of the nursing kit. “It’s still a work in progress, but we have already seen good results.”

Earlier this year, the kit was used for the first time at a shelter after an apartment fire. Disaster Health Services received positive feedback on the condensed bag and was happy to report that the kit contained its critical response supplies.

The idea for a nursing kit surfaced when responders showed up to shelters with duplicated supplies. “Duplicated supplies decreases efficiency,” says Buccellato. “In a disaster setting, everything is already chaotic, so anything that we can do to increase organization helps.”

A look at the contents inside the Nursing Kit.
A look at the contents inside the Nursing Kit.

The American Red Cross is always looking for new nurses who are ready to be put on the disaster scene. “Any nurse looking to gain experience, meet new people, and share knowledge is welcome in Disaster Health Services,” says Buccellato.

Are you a nurse? Have you ever thought about volunteering? If so, the Red Cross wants you. To apply, click here.

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation’s blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. The Minnesota Region serves 5.2 million people across Minnesota and part of western Wisconsin with offices in Duluth, Mankato, Minneapolis, Rochester and St. Cloud. For more information, please visit redcross.org/mn.  Like us on Facebook: American Red Cross Minnesota Region. Follow us on Twitter: @mnredcross

Volunteer Spotlight: Barb Page and Disaster Health Services

Teaching a CPR class,
Leading or supporting committee work,
Being on-call to assist with small disasters,
Helping in a shelter on larger disaster responses,
Reviewing health forms for the staff and volunteer workforce,
Speaking to nursing students about volunteer opportunities at the Red Cross…

Linked in photo small jpeg Barb PageThere are many ways for those in the medical field to share their time and talents with American Red Cross Humanitarian Services. One nurse doing just that is Barb Page. Barb is celebrating her five-year anniversary with the Red Cross and is nearing the end of her second year as Disaster Health Services (DHS) Lead for the Twin Cities Area Chapter. For Barb, volunteering as a nurse for the American Red Cross is about compassion and community.

COMPASSION
As a DHS volunteer, Barb has enjoyed sharing her gift of compassion with clients when called upon to assist during disaster response.

Asked why nurses have always played such an important role for the Red Cross, Barb replied, “Everybody at the Red Cross has a lot of care and compassion, but I think it’s just innate for nurses, and that comes through in our work and is an important piece of recovery. We are a big part of getting people back on their feet.”

DHS volunteers are able to offer both practical assistance and emotional support to clients in their times of need. “When someone has lost everything or has been hurt because of a disaster, they need help in so many ways. They need help navigating how to get their life back together,” Barb explained. “In almost every disaster response, there is someone with medication or someone with medical needs who needs help.” With DHS volunteers like Barb standing at the ready to share not just her professional skills but also her caring spirit, the Red Cross is able to more completely meet the needs of clients.

COMMUNITY
As DHS Lead for the Twin Cities Area Chapter, Barb has enjoyed fostering a sense of community among the DHS volunteer team.

In the beginning of Barb’s tenure, Barb focused on understanding what interested and motivated different volunteers in order to best engage them in ways they would find satisfying. As Barb described, with the variety of activities there is to participate in at the Red Cross, “We need all kinds of people with all kinds of interests.” Barb’s inclusive message is that anyone can find a way to contribute at the Red Cross that will be fulfilling and that will fit his/her unique schedule and strengths.

BarbBarb is now focusing her time as Twin Cities Area DHS Lead on maintaining a mentorship program and four committees centered on sheltering, national deployment, welcoming new volunteers, and external recruitment and education. The mentorship program has helped more than a handful of new volunteer nurses become acquainted and comfortable with responding to local disasters over the past year. Choua Yang, Regional Recovery Program Support Specialist, explained the impact Barb is having locally: “She is a great leader for the DHS group. The mentorship program helps new volunteers navigate the Red Cross and brings them into the DHS community.”

In addition, the more recently established committees are creating new ways for DHS volunteers to get involved and get to know each other, all the while making the Red Cross well positioned and prepared to take action when called upon.

Thinking holistically, as nurses so often do, Barb stated, “You never know if the client you just helped is going to become a volunteer or a donor or help out at the next disaster. It’s a circle.”  The Red Cross community is a growing, more encompassing circle because of wonderful volunteers like Barb. Thank you, Barb!

Story by Kelly Clark, Volunteer Services, American Red Cross Minnesota Region. If you or someone you know would be interested in joining this compassionate community of Disaster Health Services volunteers in Minnesota, please contact Volunteer Services.

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