Celebrating 2018 Nurses Week: Claire Liszkay

Heart to Heart International could not function without dedicated volunteers in all aspects of our organization. In honor of National Nurses Week, we are highlighting a few of our amazing nurses who have volunteered or worked with HHI, bringing help and hope to those in need.

“Nursing plays an essential role in disaster response,” Claire Liszkay, a nurse and Heart to Heart International volunteer said. “Nurses in general tend to be flexible and by necessity able to pick up and fill in the roles that are needed,”

As a member of HHI’s Disaster Response Team, Liszkay deployed for the first time in 2016 to the Missouri Bootheel for HHI’s rural health initiative. She also deployed to the Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma and Houston after Hurricane Harvey.

“I have continually been impressed with the great work HHI can do, even with a small group of people,” Liszkay said. “In the Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma, the team in HHI’s MMU [mobile medical unit] was the only group of medical professionals within 30 miles in either direction. That was a great responsibility, and the flexibility and ability of HHI’s team was absolutely incredible. I am proud to have been a part of it.”

Liszkay believes the skills nurses develop in their clinic jobs at home help them with the adaptability and required during disaster responses.

“As a nurse on a team I have provided specific nursing skills such as triage, providing IV fluids, administering medications and helping to stabilize critically ill patients. I have also at times taken on a role in coordination, such as providing education to local nurse providers, organizing for patient transfers, determining supply needs and inventorying,” Liszkay said. “Nurses are expected to take on many roles in their clinical positions at home and can bring all of those skills into the disaster response environment.”

The friendships developed on these deployments are some of Liszkay’s favorite things about volunteering with HHI.

“I was in Bangladesh this past January working in the Rohingya Refugee camp on the border of Bangladesh and Myanmar with a different group,” Liszkay said. “It was a wonderful surprise when I met up with Jason Kimm, a fellow HHI team member! The world is small when you have good friends.”

Liszkay, currently working at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, was recently honored as the 2018 Disaster Services Hero in Chicago by the American Red Cross.

Thank you, Claire, for all your work for Heart to Heart International and for people in need around the world!

Categories: Access to Healthcare , Disaster Response , General News , Haiti Operations , Lab Services , Volunteers