Empowering Nurse Leaders: The Unique Strength of Nursing for All

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By Veena Ramaswamy, co-founder, Nursing for All

Nursing for All is a unique organization with a mission to improve health globally by empowering nurse leaders in low-income countries. The organization was started by a nurse, and, for more than ten years, has supported public health initiatives, designed and implemented by Liberian nurses to support their own communities. These remarkable individuals not only provide healthcare but also foster trust, growth, and lasting impact in the communities they serve.

Nurse-Led Initiatives: Building Trust at the Local Level

One of the cornerstones of Nursing for All is the idea that healthcare should be deeply rooted in the communities it serves. NFA nurse leaders are the embodiment of this principle. They don’t just provide medical care; they build personal relationships and become trusted figures in their communities.

These personal relationships are the key to choosing the right programming to meet local needs. NFA nurse leaders are intimately familiar with the challenges, culture, and unique healthcare requirements of their communities. They proactively come to our organization with ideas that they believe will have the highest impact in their local communities – such as family planning, deworming or hypertension/diabetes management.  As a result, the care they provide is not just medically sound; it’s also responsive to the specific needs of the people they serve.

Nurses Training Nurses: A Sustainable Approach

Empowering nurse leaders goes beyond providing immediate care—it’s about creating a sustainable impact. In Liberia, Nursing for All takes a unique approach by supporting current nurse leaders to recruit, train, and mentor new leaders joining NFA. This professional development and clinical mentorship not only enhance the skills of the nursing workforce but also help grow the program’s reach.

The ripple effect of this approach is profound. As nurse leaders pass on their knowledge and experience to the next generation of nurses, the healthcare capacity of the entire community expands. It’s a sustainable model that ensures that the benefits of our work continue long after the initial nurse leaders are identified.

Through our initiatives in Liberia, our nurses have provided care for more than 18,000 people in the last five years.

Public Health Outreach: Meeting Communities Where They Are

Nursing for All understands that healthcare is not confined to clinics and hospitals. It extends to each local community, where the nurse leaders thrive. Through these local healthcare champions, we provide direct public health outreach, often in patient’s homes,  in areas of Liberia that are in need of and receptive to our support.

These nurse leaders are not just healthcare providers; they are advocates, educators, and agents of change. They work tirelessly to address not only immediate health concerns but also to promote prevention and education. By meeting communities where they are, Nursing for All ensures that healthcare is accessible, relevant, and deeply embedded in the local culture. 

Join Us in Empowering Nurse Leaders

Nursing for All’s commitment to empowering nurse leaders is at the core of our mission to improve health globally. It’s a unique approach that creates a lasting impact, one community at a time. By building trust, nurturing local talent, and extending healthcare beyond clinic walls, we are transforming lives and communities in Liberia.

We invite you to join us in this mission. Together, we can empower Nurse Leaders to make a difference where it matters most—through on the ground support in their local communities. Through your support, we can continue to make healthcare more accessible to those who need it the most. 

Our first fundraiser!

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NFA Board President Laura Jean Ridge was delighted to host NFA’s first fundraiser on Wednesday, October 15. With over forty people in attendance, it was a great opportunity to spread the word about the amazing work of NFA’s nurse partners in Liberia.

Thanks so everyone who made it out for their support!

 

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August 24 was Flag Day in Liberia…

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It was a day for celebration. For remembering Liberia’s history and anticipating its future.

But instead of enjoying the holiday, most Liberians were coping with the harsh reality of an Ebola epidemic. This epidemic has ravaged Liberia for the past six months, killed over 1,000 people, and is only getting worse.

Half of NFA’s nurse partners have elected to suspend their programs in light of this public health crisis.

However, not one of them has stopped working with NFA. Every nurse who has suspended his or her program has re-channeled their time and effort into community-based Ebola prevention education.

And all of those nurses has received additional funding from NFA.

Please consider giving to support anti-Ebola programs like it.

Amazing things are happening in Liberia!

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The last week of April, NFA Board President Laura Jean Ridge went to Liberia. NFA had some big goals for her trip.

The first was to launch four new Nurse-led Public Health Initiatives (NLPHI). Two of the selected initiatives were designed by nurses already working with NFA—Aaron Debah and Solomon Yah. Aaron recently decided to ask NFA to sponsor supplies for the mental health care he has been providing for the community in Ganta in addition to his current work on substance abuse. Aaron’s fabulous work in Ganta was featured in a seven minute-segment on PBS.

Solomon’s proposal was to expand the clean water initiative he and Clinton Zeantoe had been working on together: instead of two nurses working at one site, Solomon proposed to branch out so two sites could be served at the same time.

The other two new initiatives were equally exciting. Christina was selected to provide HIV testing to women and children who were inpatients in a Monrovia hospital, and Tohdy was selected to conduct a family planning education initiative in Paynesville. Both nurses designed their initiatives based on a community need that had been a concern to them for a long time.

Abel Welwean, NFA's Program Officer in Monrovia

Abel Welwean, NFA’s Program Officer in Monrovia

 

Laura’s second goal was to hire NFA’s first Program Officer, someone Monrovia-based who would help NFA support our programs and assess their impact. She interviewed three outstanding candidates, but Abel Welwean stood out. Abel’s experience with data analysis and his admiration for nursing made him perfect for the position.

Third, Laura wanted to assess current programs’ progress. Of the seven programs NFA launched in September, six were still operational.  (Unfortunately, one of the nurse participants had scheduling conflicts and was unable to continue her initiative past January.) In late April, these programs were transitioned from pilot to full programs, and site visits were conducted for each.

The site visits were amazing. Delkontee and Pate were conducting an open-air community education meeting with over fifty women in attendance. Annette had four different sites in her community, three schools and an open-air meeting place, where people knew they could find her for hypertension screening and management. Tohdy had already reached out to three different schools in her area where she could conduct family planning education.

It was truly inspiring and wonderful to see all of the great work that the nurse leaders working with NFA have been able to accomplish in the eight months since their programs launched. Thank you, and congratulations to them.

We did it!

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We raised $14,000 to improve health in Liberia!

On Sunday, April 6th, a team of nine runners completed the City Parks Foundation run for Nursing for All!

They locked in $8,000 in donations, $6,000 of which will be matched by Barclays. 100% of these funds will go towards providing essential health services in Liberia.

We could not have done this without your outstanding support.

Thank you so much!

It’s race time for Nursing for All!

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On April 6, NFA supporters will run the City Parks Foundation Run for Nursing for All!

Any contribution made to four of our runners will be matched by their employer, so give now to turn your $5 into $10 or your $50 into $100!

The five runners are:
John Roberts
Jeffrey Kalmus
Jaclyn Bernstein 
Andrew Kelley
Laura Jean Ridge

Please support Laura by contributing to one of the other runners above–that way your gift will double!

Contributions will support essential services like: screening for hypertension, provision of family planning services, and HIV/AIDS prevention education.

Thank you so much for your support!

Welcome to our New Board Members!

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Nursing For All is excited to welcome two new members to our board, voted in at the most recent meeting last week! You can learn more about John and Bill below.

William LaRock, RN, PhD

Dr. William LaRock, RN, PhD, is an Adult Nurse Practitioner with subspecialties in HIV disease and psychiatry. He received his NP/MSN from the University of California at San Francisco and his PhD from Columbia University in New York. He has spent his career as a healthcare provider to underserved individuals in the United States including the homeless, mentally ill and patients living in extreme poverty. His doctorate focused on program development and evaluation in limited resource settings. He has served as a capacity building consultant in public health systems development in both Rwanda and South Africa. He currently serves as a primary care provider for homeless and shelter based individual in Manhattan.

 

John Roberts

John Roberts, CFA is an Investment Banking Associate in the Enterprise Risk Management Group at Barclays. He advises the firm’s clients on the risk impact of strategic corporate finance decisions, such as how they allocate capital, finance themselves and manage market risks. He has worked at Barclays since graduating summa cum laude from Colby in 2009, where he majored in Mathematical Science and Honors Economics-Mathematics with a Concentration in Financial Markets. For his honors thesis, he examined whether parallel exchange rates could be used to predict moves in commodity prices. He cofounded the Colby Student Investment Association and was an avid member of the Sailing and Crew Teams. He is also an Eagle Scout and supporter of Boy Scouts of America.

Program Spotlight: Family Planning in West Point

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Peer educators at their October training

Shelly’s initiative has already achieved so much: in partnership with Planned Parenthood of Liberia, Shelly has trained 20 volunteer adolescent health peer educators and worked with them as they divided West Point, Monrovia’s largest slum, into ten different zones where pairs of educators could provide outreach and education. On Saturday, February 8, Shelly and her peer educators are holding a community event in which locals interested in family planning services can drop by and receive education and even family planning services if they would like.

 

Program Spotlight: Aaron Debah’s Anti-Substance Abuse Program

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Students on Voice of Gompa

Aaron Debah, a mental health nursing educator at United Methodist University’s Winifred J. Harley’s College of Nursing, has been interested in substance abuse prevention for a long time. So, when he heard about Nursing for All’s request for community-based public health program ideas, he knew right away what kind of program he wanted to design.

Aaron’s program operates in partnership with two outside groups: one, Ganta United Methodist High School (GUMS), and two, the radio station Voice of Gompa 106.5. Since beginning his program, Aaron has held both small weekly meetings and larger educational sessions at GUMS. His most recent information session was held December 18, and included 23 students and three staff attendees. Meanwhile, Aaron also uses his weekly radio show on Voice of Gompa to discuss the dangers of substance abuse with a wider audience. Sometimes Aaron will include a student from GUMS in his radio program, because he thinks teenagers are more apt to listen to each other than adults.