What it Means to be a Red Cross Nurse

By Skylar Karle, Public Affairs Intern

Nurses have always been a pivotal part of the American Red Cross mission. For many decades, nurses were the public face of the Red Cross and provided disaster relief services and support across our nation. Here in the Central California Region, we want to take a moment to recognize all that our nurses do for the communities that they serve.

Today, our Red Cross nurses are continuing a proud tradition of service that stretches back to the earliest days the organization. Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, first came to public attention as an amateur nurse who provided aid to soldiers during the Civil War. Joining Clara as a leader in the Red Cross is Jane Delano, a leading pioneer of the modern nursing profession, who almost single-handedly created American Red Cross Nursing.

Nurses help the Red Cross mission in many ways, but their work is most often recognized in three places: disaster cycle services, teaching courses, and blood services.

Disaster Cycle Services

Disaster Cycle Services is the beginnings of the Red Cross story and the most recognizable provision for our volunteer nurses. Like many volunteers, nurses are able to deploy to help disaster-struck areas across the nation. Nurses provide initial medical services and care at shelters and disaster sites. This work has aided the Central California Region in meeting the needs of our community by providing aid to the people whose lives have been affected by disasters big and small.


Nurses also use their knowledge to help train and prepare other Red Cross volunteers in things like CPR and first aid. These courses are a vital part of the Red Cross mission. Preparedness is a key component in responding to disasters and making sure the people in our communities are safe. By teaching these courses that have the potential to save lives, Red Cross nurses are ensuring that everyday people like you and me are ready to respond in an emergency.

D. W. D. Hector, Chairman of the Near South Side Red Cross unit at 5120 South Parkway, Chicago, has his blood pressure taken at the Red Cross Blood Donor Center in 1942, prior to giving a pint of blood for wounded soldiers and sailors. After the blood was taken, Mr. Hector was given the bronze blood donor pin.

Blood Services

Blood services is a critical part of the work nurses do in the Central California chapter. While we don’t collect blood throughout our entire region, our nurses in the Pacific Coast Chapter should be applauded for the work they do. These nurses in blood services help safely administer the collection of blood for the surrounding communities. Blood donations are an important part of the assistance we provide to our communities. Without these nurses, this critical service would not be possible.

As we celebrate Nurses Week 2020, we want to thank our Red Cross nurses for all that they do. Without their work, the Central California Region would not be where it is today.

May 6-12 is National Nurses Week, and the American Red Cross is pleased to highlight the vital role our nurses play in helping to achieve our humanitarian mission.

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