As our nation recognizes Black History Month, a dramatic response by individual NYSNA members to the Haiti earthquake disaster evokes the spirit of history's dedicated and inspirational
|Linda Benoit, RN|
Within hours of the tragedy, registered nurses from throughout New York were enlisting for duty on relief missions, many of them Caribbean natives themselves. But in such time of trouble, we are all connected and the call to care extends beyond politics, religion, race, and job title.
One such NYSNA member is Linda Benoit from Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, featured in a recent “Making a Difference” segment of the NBC Nightly News. Born in Haiti, Benoit felt compelled to return upon seeing the first broadcasts of the catastrophe. She quickly scheduled to take all of her vacation time at once so that she could spend as much time in her homeland as possible. “I think God put me on this earth to help people,” she said. “And my happiest moment is when I help people.” You can see the entire report in NBC's online video archive.
"We did see a lot of suffering and it was an emotional moment. It was physically draining but we realized we were doing it for the people of Haiti and we gave it our best shot," Mount Sinai nurse Nyar Benn told NY1 News. Benn was among 30 healthcare professionals from Mount Sinai who spent eight days working at the National Hospital in Port-au-Prince. “People suffered their pain, kept it to themselves and there's a level of resilience that's quite remarkable and quite humbling,” added her colleague Michael McCarry.
OR nurse Rachael Jones was part of a team from Montefiore Medical Center to travel to Port-au-Prince through the Surgeons of Hope Foundation, they worked around the clock, bringing valuable supplies and medicines with them.
Sueann Dickson, an assistant head nurse at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center was one of four RNs from that Brooklyn facility to take part in a relief mission on Jan. 21. “Even if I could save one life or help in some small way, I had to,” she said. Loisa Arguelles, also an assistant head nurse, joined Dickson. “I’ve always wanted to help others outside of my job, doing something that would let me use my nursing skills and expertise,” she said.
As relief and recovery efforts continue, NYSNA will endeavor to feature their stories, honoring and saluting our members who sacrifice and put themselves in harm’s way, to provide care and comfort to the people of Haiti.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 members, it is the state's largest union and professional association for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.