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American Red Cross Honors SMU Nursing Students

ABSN student Katie KelschThis month the American Red Cross Yolo Chapter is celebrating the 100th anniversary of American Red Cross nursing.  The Red Cross Nursing Service was formally established by Jane Delano in 1909.  On December 17, 2009, in honor of the event, three Samuel Merritt University students from the Accelerated Bachelors of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program were recognized and 'pinned' for their volunteer work with the Chapter.

One of the students recognized for her work was Katharine Kelsch.  She has been with the Red Cross since Hurricane Katrina.  "Even though I have had the tremendously busy year, the Red Cross helped to provide the light at the end of the tunnel and reminded me why I am in nursing school."

Katharine adds that working with the American Red Cross helped her to interact and communicate with people during what is probably the worst time of their lives.  "The Red Cross reinforces compassion, and the value of every life.  The perspective one gains through volunteering with the Red Cross is unlike any other organization for which I have volunteered or worked.  You immediately have a sense of pride." 

Tejasvi Sutaria and Eli Mendoza were honored for the time they spent at the Woodland Mass Flu Clinic, administering flu vaccines to more than 1200 patients.  At the clinic the ABSN students were able to practice learning skills such as organizing triaging groups, obtaining health history, and perfecting intramuscular (IM) injection skills (the injection of a substance directly into a muscle).

Sutaria, Tejasvi , Deane, Terry , Mendoza, Eli , Kelsch, KatharineBoth students were instrumental in effective communication with patients. Acting as translators, Tejasvi worked closely with patients who spoke Hindi or Gujarati, and Eli translated for Spanish speakers.  "Out of the 30 volunteers, only ten of us spoke Spanish, and about half of the population spoke Spanish," says Eli.  "It made for a long, productive time.  Helping out so many clients is such a rewarding experience--you make a huge impact on the community."  

At the evening event the ABSN students received a special Student Nurse Pin from the AMR's Yolo Chapter executive director.   "It's important to have nurses who are committed to the Red Cross so that we can call on them in case something happens," says Donna Neu, Executive Director of Yolo County chapter.

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