By Kristin Alexander
Danielle Jordahl understands nurses. She knows all about American Red Cross founder Clara Barton. And she looks up to Florence Nightingale, who influenced the work of the British Red Cross.
The Bellingham nurse and newly minted board member for the Red Cross chapter serving Northwest Washington shares not only her career in common with those women, but her passion to serve others.
“The whole reason I am drawn to the Red Cross is because it’s absolutely about service to others. That’s what Clara Barton did. She risked life and limb to provide service and comfort to our service members on the battlefield.”
She continues, “I believe that spirit is still very much alive in our volunteers, whether responding to a home fire or major disaster – floods, hurricanes. These are situations most people don’t run into, and we have volunteers willing to do that — all to provide comfort and hope to those in need.”
Although Danielle is new to her role as a board member, she’s not new to the Red Cross. As a kid, she took swim lessons offered by the Red Cross. Later, she became a Red Cross water safety instructor herself. It was her first paid job and, as she recalls, her mom had to drive her that initial summer because she didn’t yet have a license. Danielle enjoyed developing lesson plans for the kids and sometimes their moms. She also took classes in lifeguarding and CPR instruction.
When Danielle later graduated with her Associate’s degree in nursing and education, she hoped to work as a Red Cross nurse on a floating hospital.
“Then I was disappointed to learn that isn’t really a ‘thing’ anymore,” she says, explaining that the ships are staffed by military members. And while she considered a military career, she ultimately chose civilian work.
Now seven years into her career as a registered nurse with a Master’s of Science in nursing, she continues to live her life’s calling.
“Even on the awful, awful days, I love being a nurse, she says. “I love the privilege I get of taking care of people, positively impacting the moments in their life when they are the most vulnerable.”
May 6-12 is National Nurses Week. This week, we celebrate leaders like Danielle and the more than 20,000 nurses and other health professionals who contribute to the Red Cross mission. They bring relief to disaster victims, work in military hospitals, teach courses in CPR/first aid and collect lifesaving blood.