Nursing professors help fellow nurses in Iraq

June 29, 2009

by Taylor Stephens

Nursing professors will be collecting personal items to send to nurses serving in Iraq now through July 13.

Norlyn Hyde, a nursing professor, is leading the drive.

“We started the drive three years ago when we decided to show our support for the nurses in Iraq during Professional Nursing Week,” Hyde said.

She said the purpose of the drive is to collect mostly personal and craft items that boost the morale of the nurses helping the soldiers.

“It’s mostly personal care,” Hyde said. “There are about 75 women and 55 men in the group we’re sending items to, so we have quite a bit to collect.”

She said personal items needed include toothbrushes, toothpaste, coffee mugs, soap, socks and lotion to keep the nurses’ skin moisturized in the dry heat.

They are also collecting colored papers, pens, markers, crayons, puzzles and DVD movies. These items not only keep them entertained during their downtime, but the craft supplies allow them to decorate their work area to make them feel more comfortable.

“They also need Ziploc bags and baby wipes,” Hyde said. “The Ziploc bags keep their personal items from getting sandy and the baby wipes let them wash themselves off.
It’s not like they can take a shower like you or me.”

Jessica Sanchez, a sophomore art major, said she plans to give items to help the cause.

“It’s horrible that they have to take baths with baby wipes,” Sanchez said. “I’ll help in whatever way I can.”

Hyde said she hopes the drive will be as successful this year as it was three years ago.

“The last time we did this, we sent items to the nurses during Professional Nursing Week and the same nurses were there that Christmas,” Hyde said. “So we ended up sending them Christmas decorations along with the personal items.”

She said the drive sparked the nursing professors’ interest again when a former student, Aaron Johnston, who is now a nurse stationed in Iraq, brought the first banner with the Professional Nursing Week logo that was sent to Iraq by Tech nurses back home.

“I got a call from a mother of one of my students and couldn’t believe that he had it,” Hyde said.

She also put up a reminder about the drive in George T. Madison Hall for students looking for more information.

“Basically, if it’s not something valuable, like a DVD movie, just put it in the box in front of GTM Room 139,” Hyde said.

Hyde said donations will not be turned down after July 13, but she would like people to donate the items as soon as possible.