Advocacy and Connection: Hadassah’s Nurses Council
When Israel was experiencing waves of suicide bombings in the 1990s during the Second Intifada, the Hadassah Nurses & Allied Health Professionals Council organized a mission to Israel to offer support and build relationships among trauma professionals. Years later, in 2013, participants from that mission drew on what they’d witnessed to care for Boston Marathon bombing victims.
“That’s how we use our community, our network, our talents to make a difference,” explains Nancy Falchuk, a career nurse and Hadassah past national president who in 1990 co-founded the council with fellow nurse Rachel Albert as the first national Jewish nurses’ group.
Hadassah’s roots in the field go back to 1913, when the fledgling organization sent nurses Rose Kaplan and Rae Landy to then-Palestine and laid the groundwork for building a health care infrastructure in Israel. Today, the Nurses Council offers mentorship, networking events, webinars and continuing education to nearly 2,500 members in 35 chapters across the country. They include veterans as well as beginners like Rachel Rose Rudberg, 25, a critical care nurse in Dallas. “I’m still new in my profession, so getting to meet other nurses who have been doing this for years has been great,” she says.
Council members meet with congressional staffers on Capitol Hill and promote initiatives around Jewish-associated health concerns like breast cancer. Continuing the over-a-century-old legacy, Hadassah members who are nurses collaborate with the Hadassah Medical Organization in Israel.
In addition to the tangible benefits, council president Susan Lafer of Tampa says the group offers profound satisfaction by integrating core aspects of members’ identity. “Hadassah is for women, and it’s about advocacy. And nurses are patient advocates,” she explains. “Jewish nurses connect with each other on a deeper level. We speak the same language.”
Hilary Danailova writes about travel, culture, politics and lifestyle for numerous publications.