In March, nurses at Moffit Cancer Center in Florida donated 90 uniform pieces to medical staff at a mission hospital in Akot, Southern Sudan. The effort began after nurses on 5-South voted in September 2009 to change their uniform color from blue to green, according to a newsletter article by Susan Scanlon, RN, OCN, who spearheaded the effort.
I saw my closet with numerous navy blue uniforms some slightly faded and a little worn, Scanlon says in the article. I knew there was still life in them, and felt there was something good to be done with them. I also realized there were probably many other 5-South nurses who were feeling the same way. Scanlon was put in touch with Ann Rao, RN, MA, who works closely with the Sudan mission hospital, and the project came to life.
In a December e-mail, Rao shared details about the hospital and its location, The people live with hunger and disease in 120-degree heat. There is no other healthcare facility anywhere in the area. There are 22 Sudanese staff members and three Kenyan nurses. It is very difficult to get anything in there, and so they only have one set [of scrubs] each.
Scanlon shared a photo and information about the mission hospital staffs limited resources with her nurse colleagues. Soon, bags of clean, used uniforms started coming in. On March 1, Scanlon delivered the uniforms to Raos home and received the following e-mail soon after: They were so excited to have uniforms. It gives them recognition in the village. It could also save their lives, as the soldiers are attacking, raping, and killing civilians. With something that identifies them as a hospital worker, it helps them be less of a target.