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After the cameras have gone home…National RN Relief Group Kicks off Next Round in Haiti Deployment

Press Release Press Release, 4/6/10

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A team of registered nurse volunteers from California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Texas will depart for Haiti Friday morning for a nine-day deployment at Hopital Sacre Coeur, the nation’s largest organization of registered nurses, National Nurses United (NNU), announced today.

Hopital Sacre Coeur (HSC), a 73-bed facility, is the largest private hospital in the north of Haiti, located 80 miles north of Port-au-Prince in the town of Milot. The nurses will return to the U.S. on April 18. NNU deployments to the hospital are expected to continue for several months.  

The group is part of a continuous series of assignments of volunteer RNs from the NNU’s Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN) which included working onboard the USNS Comfort, the critical Navy relief effort that cared for the most seriously injured in the first weeks following the disaster.

The nurses come from a variety of medical specialties including intensive care, medical-surgical and pediatrics. The volunteers will work alongside local Haitian doctors and nurses. Before the earthquake, the hospital typically had 56,000 patients a year and people would often travel miles to receive care. After the disaster, tent hospitals were set up for the many additional patients as well as for discharged patients who had no housing.

The RNRN volunteers will also assess the possibility of assisting with a new nurse training program that the hospital is considering. There is a critical need for more trained nurses.  Before the earthquake, there were only two nursing schools in Haiti. The largest and most prominent, located in Leogane, was completely destroyed in the earthquake and 150 nursing students lost their lives.

In separate news, RNRN will be donating $10,000 worth of medical and personal supplies to assist and support RN members of the Haitian Nurses Association in Port-au-Prince.

“We have learned from our experience in Hurricane Katrina, that the kind of skills needed in the weeks and months following a disaster are nursing skills,” said Bonnie Castillo, RN, Director of RNRN.  “The kind of care that's needed is everyday care, and things are exacerbated by the lack of medication and basic first aid.  Wounds fester and spread. Something that was preventable ends up a life-threatening situation. Nurses are the heart of a long-term recovery effort.”

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