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Scholarships Fulfill Humanitarian Hopes

One Nurse at a Time, a Washington-based nonprofit organization founded by nurses, is accepting nominations for its scholarship program, which aims to promote and lower the barrier for nurses interested in volunteer and humanitarian nursing. ONAAT was founded in 2007 by Susan Averill, RN, MBA, BSN, and Staci Kelley, RN. Both nurses work in the ED at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.

The following nurses received scholarships so far this year, enabling them to pursue their humanitarian goals:

Becky Elder, RN, with young patient.

Becky Elder, RN, BSN, FNP

Elder works at St. Luke’s Travel Medicine in Boise, Idaho. She says when she read a 2010 copy of NP World News, she was elated. On the front page, in bold type, she read: “Healing Beyond Borders — One Nurse at a Time.” Participating in a medical mission always had been one of her long-term goals, so she contacted ONAAT and later became the first ONAAT scholarship recipient for 2011.

She completed her first medical mission Jan. 7-16. To her, the mission was life-changing. “A group of healthcare providers provided general medical care to indigent villages in the mountains near Santa Cruz, Guatemala. What I did not know was that my life would change forever. I received a new zest for life, a feeling of connectedness and mindfulness that I was doing something for the greater good; I was able to refill my once-empty bucket as a nurse practitioner.”

Gretchen Mettler, RN, center, Lori Brimer, WHNP, left, and Deb Simon, OB/GYN surgeon.

Gretchen Mettler, RN, BSN, CNM, PhD

Mettler is the director of the Nurse Midwifery Program at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She has worked as a midwife for countless years, giving care to primarily poor, inner-city African-American women in Cleveland and has long held an interest in international healthcare work. She served Feb. 17-27 with Refuge International in San Raymundo, Guatemala, and was impressed by the compassionate people who served on the team.

“The very best thing about the Medical Mission trip with Refuge International was working with a group of professionals who are skilled in giving care, and cared deeply about the people they were giving care to,” she said. “I would be thrilled to go back every month to work at that clinic.”

Laura Weisgerber, RN, getting a toddler ready for surgery.

Laura Weisgerber, RN, BSN

Weisgerber graduated in May 2010 from William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. Since then, she has worked at the ED at Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence, Mo. She served on a medical mission with Healing the Children in La Troncal, Ecuador, from March 12-19 as the third 2011 scholarship recipient for ONAAT.

“It was so different from what I expected, but in the best way possible. Our team was amazing, We all clicked right away,” she said. “Because I speak Spanish, I was able to connect with the people. They included us in everything; it was like one big hug the entire week with open arms.”

Learn more about the scholarships at

By | 2020-04-15T13:28:16-04:00 May 2nd, 2011|Categories: Regional, West|0 Comments

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