Our very own, Sue Averill,RN, BSN, MBA and Co-founder and President of One Nurse At A Time has been nominated for Mosby's Third annual SUPERHEROES of NURSING contest. Winners will be announced in October.
Sue Averill, RN, MBA, considers herself a “humanitarian snowbird.” While she works half the year in the emergency department of a large metropolitan hospital, she spends the other 6 months volunteering abroad. Her travels read like an atlas.
When she returned from each trip, friends, acquaintances, and even perfect strangers would ask, “How can I do what you're doing?" Sue always found time to chat and guide them along their path. Then, she decided to answer these questions not only for friends and colleagues, but for all nurses! She co-founded a non-profit organization, ONE NURSE AT A TIME, (One Nurse) in 2007 and continues us to serve as President for the organization. Her goal is to make it easier for nurses to use their skills around the world
Over years of trying to expand her own volunteer experiences, Sue had become acutely aware that there was no central database/website to inform nurses about volunteer opportunities. The information available on the Internet was available only in bits and pieces. It became a priority to create a central database as part of the One Nurse website; this database is updated annually to assure it remains current and correct.
Although the majority of Americans have some understanding of what nurses do in the United States—working in clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and the community—most of them have no idea what nurses do when they volunteer abroad. International volunteering involves a wide breadth of work: teaching, diagnosing and treating, and functioning as hospital administrators and logisticians. They, like medical MacGyver’s, must wear many hats and stretch far beyond their scope of practice at home. Sue wants the public to recognize the great value that even one single nurse brings to a mission, to a people in need, so networking is a huge part of the One Nurse organization. Representatives speak at public forums, maintain an active presence on Internet social networks, write articles, and publish articles and stories.
Doing volunteer work, by definition, doesn't pay. Many, if not most, international organizations ask nurses to pay their own costs. Because Sue wanted to overcome that barrier so that more nurses could share their skills and expertise in the world, they created a One Nurse scholarship program that offers $1000 to qualified applicants.
When discussing why she has put so much effort into building a nonprofit organization for nurses Sue says,”The key for me came during a surgical trip to Pakistan – by comparison to girls and women there, I have lived a charmed life. I was born in a time and place that fosters independence, education and freedom for women. I believe it to be my responsibility to give of myself for the many gifts that I have received through no merit of my own. My goal is to make it easier for nurses to use their skills to help people around the world, to lower the entry barriers, to increase public awareness of the role and contribution nurses make in the humanitarian world. I truly believe we CAN change the world. “Now if Sue Averill isn't a Nursing Superhero, I don’t know who is!