Volunteering with the Red Cross in disaster relief missions has made Jenn Hewitt a better nurse.

“It makes me more resourceful since I’m so used to working with much more limited materials,” says Hewitt, a long-time staff member at the PCN’s Riley Park Maternity Clinic.

Hewitt says she is also more culturally sensitive to the patients she works within the maternity clinic: “I’ve seen firsthand where some patients have been coming from, as well as learning about different customs.

Nurse Jenn Hewitt with a patient in Bangladesh

Nurse Jenn Hewitt with a patient in Bangladesh

“I feel grateful for the good care we are able to give people in Canada.”

She began doing disaster relief work in 2014 after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines. Since then, she has tried to do at least one mission a year, with the most recent being to Mozambique in March following Cyclone Adai where she worked in a cholera treatment centre alongside an international team of doctors and nurses.

Hewitt is grateful for the understanding of the team at Riley Park Maternity. “I went on this last mission with 22 hours’ notice and I really appreciate feeling like everyone is very supportive of what I do. It makes it easier to get out the door and not worry that I’m leaving everything behind.”