I’m a “humanitarian snowbird,” taking breaks from ER nursing to volunteer abroad.

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What do you do? I’m a “humanitarian snowbird,” taking breaks from ER nursing to volunteer abroad. I’ve had the privilege of eating goat with Nigerian villagers, riding a Darfur nomad’s camel, and treating frontline war wounded. I co-founded Seattle-based nonprofit One Nurse At A Time, dedicated to putting more nurses into the world.

How did you get started? With my first volunteer trip to rural Guatemala, I was hooked, but frustrated trying to find more opportunities to share my time and skills. One Nurse At A Time strives to overcome obstacles by providing centralized information and advice, educational modules and financial assistance for nurses wishing to volunteer.

What’s a typical day like? Despite 12- to 14-hour days six days a week on surgical missions, there are always more patients than time allows. When teaching, local nurses’ faces glow when new ideas hit home. I’ve delivered babies on benches and dirt floors. I’ve held children as they die in my arms. It’s hard work. And important.

Best part of your work? Connecting with people around the world, learning of their societies, cultures, religions, traditions. We all want the same things: a better life for our children, security, enough food, a safe home, clean water. I am honored to be invited to share my life with others and affect positive change.