Minnesota RN Barbara Warren-Bloms leaves Sunday (2-14-10) from MSP International Airport and becomes the first Minnesota nurse to be formally deployed to Haiti. Since the earthquake struck nearly one month ago, more than 300 Minnesota RNs have volunteered through the Minnesota Nurses Association to travel to Haiti.
“As nurses, it’s in our DNA to help,” says MNA President Linda Hamilton. “We don’t know any other way to operate. It doesn’t matter if it’s in Hastings or Haiti – our nurses want to be where they are needed.”
Warren-Bloms, one of 20,000 RNs who are members of the Minnesota Nurses Association, lives in Brooklyn Park and has been an RN for more than 15 years. She has worked for the past 10 years in the Trauma Neuro Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale.
“I just want to help,” she says. “I’m ready to go and excited for the experience. I want to be in Haiti helping out in whatever way I can.”
The Minnesota Nurses Association has partnered with its national union, National Nurses United (NNU), which is working to send more than 12,000 RNs from across the country to Haiti. After weeks of logistical efforts and negotiations, NNU recently secured a formal agreement with the U.S. Navy to transport and place nurses on the ground in Haiti.
Warren-Bloms will join other nurses that are working in U.S. Navy field hospitals or on floating naval hospitals moored off the coast of Haiti. It costs an estimated $250 per day to keep just one RN on the ground in Haiti, and the Minnesota Nurses Association is seeking additional financial support to help with the effort.
Donations are being accepted through the national nursing Web site www.SendANurse.org to help pay for the food, lodging and travel costs RNs incur, along with purchasing medical equipment and supplies needed in Haiti.
“There remains a dire shortage of and need for nurses all across Haiti,” Hamilton says. “We’re glad the first Minnesota nurse has been authorized to go, and are hopeful Barb is just first of many who will be able to help during the coming weeks and months in Haiti.”