A Handy Guide on How to Become a Red Cross Nurse

how to be a red cross nurse

Nurses can’t only be found inside hospitals. If you watch the news, there’s a good chance you’ve seen nurses responding to wildfires, hurricanes, and other disasters. These are American Red Cross nurses.

What Do American Red Cross Nurses Do?

As a Red Cross nurse, you’ll have projects like blood and community health drives.

Following proper collection standards, you’ll assist in drawing blood. If you’re assigned as the charge nurse, you’ll supervise employees and make sure that all the procedures are carried out properly and safely.

As a Red Cross nurse, you will also be responsible for conducting community outreach regarding health issues. You’ll be in charge of the training sessions for certified nurse assistants, too.

During the course, you will teach students about the proper way to do adult CPR. You will also teach them about taking vital signs, positioning and transferring, and infection control.

In addition to those, you’ll be responsible for teaching your students about the importance of communication, teamwork, and being adaptable at work. Discussing the ethical and legal aspects of health care is also a critical part of the program.

To know more about the Nurse Assistant Training Program of the Red Cross, click here.

Red Cross nurses help in assessing people’s health needs. They provide healthcare and administer aid to those affected by disasters.

During disasters, Red Cross nurses provide the initial medical assistance for basic medical needs, like dressing minor cuts and applying bandages to sprained ankles. Severe cases are brought and treated at a hospital.

The Requirements

You need to be a registered nurse to be qualified. Since you’ll be communicating with a lot of people, good public relations and verbal communication skills are necessary. Having customer service experience is also a plus.

Red Cross nurses work long, irregular hours. This means that you have to be flexible. You can’t expect to work following the same schedule hospital nurses have.

You will also need a valid driver’s license and proof that your driving record is clear.

If you want to work in a more challenging set-up, you can be at the front lines of disaster relief.

For you to be able to join, you need to be team-oriented and compassionate. You should have a disaster response experience and be fluent in multiple languages. You need to know how to remain calm during stressful events.

How to Become an American Red Cross Nurse

The first thing you need to do is get your nursing degree and be a nurse. After completing your Associate’s Degree in Nursing or Bachelor of Science in Nursing, you need to take and pass the NCLEX-RN or National Council Licensure Exam. Once you’ve successfully passed the test, you can apply for your state license.

In case you’re still finishing up your degree or you’re awaiting your license, you have the option to take a health-related volunteer position. This will enable you to get a feel of what it’s like to work as a Red Cross volunteer.

How Much Do American Red Cross Nurses Earn?

On average, you can earn as much as $61,000 a year. That’s equivalent to $17.34 per hour.

Apart from the salary, being a Red Cross employee also entitles you to paid vacation time, commuter benefits, health care coverage, and even a 401(k) plan.

If you’ll be joining the team as a volunteer, you won’t be entitled to any salary.

Why Consider Becoming a Red Cross Nurse?

There’s a variety of reasons why nurses join the Red Cross team. Some of them choose to work there because they prefer to have a fast-paced work. They want to be on the front line of providing care to victims of disasters and calamities. Others join the team because they want to be volunteers and perform their service for free to those people who are in need.

Take note that like a lot of nurses, American Red Cross nurses may experience burnout. With all the work they do and the danger they face while on duty, they may sometimes feel overworked and underappreciated.

However, if you have your heart set on becoming a nurse, considering becoming a Red Cross nurse is definitely a wise career move.

Apart from the Red Cross, you can also get involved with disaster nursing by joining the International Medical Corps. This organization responds to some of the most extreme conditions.

You also have the option to offer your services and provide medical aid to areas affected by disasters.