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Calif. nurses seek RNs for Haiti relief

January 13, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Registered nurses are badly needed in Haiti, and the California Nurses Association is recruiting volunteers from throughout the state to head for the quake stricken country.The California Nurses Association formed the Registered Nurses Relief Network in 20055 after Hurricane Katrina. So far, more than 1,600 nurses have been recruited nationwide, but most of them are from Southern California.

The Registered Nurse Response Network is calling on all nurses to volunteer for an emergency relief mission to Haiti. The group is hoping to send the first delegation of nurses to the island nation within the next couple of days. While the response has been steady, officials say thousands more nurses are still needed.

"It's very difficult because there's rubble everywhere on the ground and obviously there are bodies and dead people in the streets and it's a very serious situation," said Jill Furillo, a registered nurse.

The response network is in contact with several agencies to organize the assistance. Hospitals in Haiti have collapsed, and the country is in dire need of help and supplies.

Doctors Without Borders has been trying to set up makeshift medical facilities, and it sent the following communication to the nurses: "Many with severe injuries including fractured bones and crushed skulls waiting for treatment, but there's no medical treatment happening because the area has absolutely no facilities."

Luni Dorcin is a critical care nurse at Antelope Valley \Hospital in Lancaster. For her, the mission is personal, because she is from Haiti and still has family there.

"When I heard 7.0, I didn't even see pictures yet, I knew this is going to be bad," said Dorcin.

She has no idea whether her family even survived the quake. Right now, she's just trying to stay focused on what she can do to help.

"I'm trying not to think about it. Stay strong, I want to go and help. I want to go see what happened. I don't think it's only about my family. It's all about Haiti," Dorcin said.

While the number of volunteer nurses is climbing, they still need to figure out how to get the volunteer nurses to Haiti. Transportation is definitely an issue and so is the cost. The Registered Nurse Response Network is asking for the public's help in raising funds to send the nurses to Haiti.