Earthquake! Instantly Ready to Care...
On Tuesday afternoon, January 12th 2010, Montana-based nursing educator Michele Sare had just landed at the Port au Prince International Airport in Haiti. She was there to “see what it would take to teach a public health nursing course” and to learn more about public health needs of Haiti — the poorest nation in the Americas.
Just while she was leaving the airport with her bags, the now-infamous 7.3 earthquake struck and she immediately began her fateful adventure to serve the immediate health care needs of people in Léogâne, injured and displaced from this catastrophe. In one split second, Michele was instantly ready to care in a remarkable and unprecedented way....
On Sunday January 17 — five days after this quake claimed over 350,000 lives, leaving a million homeless and injured hundreds of thousands in just seven seconds — Michele listened to CNN, ABC and Sky News reporters talking about Léogâne —the earthquake epicenter — as a 'village.’ She knew — from her own immediate on-the-ground experience — that Léogâne was instead a region of 300,000 people where the UN declared that 80-90% of ‘everything’ had been destroyed.
From this, Michele also knew that Léogâne, Haiti was a place that the world forgot for six terrible long days. The stories of what happened in Léogâne — before the influx of international aid on Monday January 18 and the days following — had not been told. Thus she knew that she must tell her own story and the story of the people who helped her to help so many more during those unforgettable days. Her story — dramatically recalled in her book — Today Léogâne.
Now available in print and via Kindle — this book is an awesome adventure story of how on nurse took all her skills and all her perspectives to shape a new destiny for herself and many others. The enclosed pdf file shares more of her work since.
The above photo and and the cover graphic ‘Today, Léogâne' are from Michele Sare’s own photo archives of the January 12 2010 7.3 earthquake in Haiti, Both used with permission.
Michele Sare, MSN, BSN, ADN, is a nurse activist, social entrepreneur, author, speaker and educator and serves on NIGH's Advisory Board. We have been deeply moved and inspired to connect with Michele following her remarkable spontaneous hands-on contributions to the critical relief work required during the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. As a registered nurse and the founder of ‘Nurses for Nurses International,’ Michele spent the next seven days leading a small group of nurses in caring for residents after this devastating quake. These impromptu volunteer caregivers saw hundreds of patients over the next few days — as later recounted in ‘Today Leogane.’ Across 38 years as a Registered Nurse and living and working in six countries and six states, Michele observes that she has ‘both loved and hated nursing.’
Delighted to become a Candy Striper at age 13, she began her healthcare journey when a WWII Army Nurse taught her how to make square corners on a cot at the Red Cross Training Center in Santa Barbara, California.
Since then, Michele has worked the gamut of nursing — from trauma care to community health nursing, but her heart of care found a home in public health and education and today, as an advocate for nursing worldwide. Wherever she has worked — from Indonesia to frontier Montana — she has not been able to understand why healthcare injustice and disparity still persists. She knows that nurses know how to do this and wonders, ‘with over 17 million nurses worldwide, how is it that over seven million children will still die this year from preventable causes? If not the profession of nursing — whose domain is both the science and art of care — then who?”
With her 'Nurses for Nurses International' — Michele and her team have identified ‘5KEA’© (Five Key Effectiveness Areas ©) to inspire and empower nurses to actualize their highest vision of care. Of this, she says, “because every child deserves a life of peace and possibility — what other healthcare outcome is there?”
The above photo of Michele was accessed from an excellent article featuring her work — 'Teaching to turmoil: Missoula nurse's class turns to treating Haitians' — photo by Tom Bauer, used with full attribution.