By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: July 2008
MaryAnn Staab founded Registered Nurse Community Volunteers, Inc. in 1968. Since then, the group’s members have provided more than 197,997 hours of volunteer nursing services to the Tulsa area.
In March of 1968, MaryAnn Staab, along with five other inactive Tulsa-area nurses, founded Registered Nurse Community Volunteers, Inc. (RNCV). The idea for the organization sparked from MaryAnn’s desire to be a full-time mother to her three small children while continuing to maintain her nursing skills. Since its inception 40 years ago, RNCV has provided more than 197,997 hours of volunteer professional nursing services to Tulsa and the surrounding community. With the median hourly wage for registered nurses at $28.85, it can be estimated that members have donated over $683,182 worth of services!
RNCV members contribute their time and expertise to assist numerous nonprofit organizations and agencies in providing healthcare to the community. They supply immunizations, first aid, disaster nursing, health screenings, pregnancy testing, community health instruction and more. “When RNCV began, we offered only a few services, such as prenatal nursing. It’s amazing how much we’ve branched out and grown over the years,” said MaryAnn. For example, RNCV member Pat Minielly founded the Nurses Health Clinic at the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless, and it is still staffed mostly by volunteer nurses. Depending on their skills and interests, other members volunteer in a variety of locations, including the Alzheimer’s Association, American Red Cross, Indian Health Care Resource Center, Neighbor for Neighbor, OASIS Adult Day Services and Tulsa Public Schools.
The annual scholarship is another way RNCV serves the community. By actively supporting the nursing profession, scholarships totaling more than $55,000 have been awarded to nursing students enrolled at Langston University, Tulsa Community College, University of Tulsa, Oral Roberts University, Platt College and Rogers State University. The first scholarships were awarded in 1972, when they offered $100 each to two deserving nursing students. In the past year, they awarded $5,800 in scholarships to four outstanding students. All of the group’s income, generated solely from membership dues and donation from the community, goes directly to the nursing scholarships.
RNCV’s primary fundraiser, held each February, is a luncheon in which members and the public gather to hear an author provide a book review. The event is well-attended each year, and guest authors have included William Bernhardt and Billy Letts. The benefit raises money by selling raffle tickets for prizes, such as one of MaryAnn’s own paintings. The most recent book review was sponsored by and held at Langston University.
Each year on RNCV Day, the organization recognizes the member who has given the most time in volunteer nursing activities. Eileen Barnes has won Volunteer Nurse of the Year eight times in the past decade, volunteering more than 5,276 hours since 1998. She has provided a multitude of services and currently volunteers at Saint Francis Hospice every Wednesday. “I retired from full-time nursing in 1986, but I love it too much to stop. It helps me stay connected to the community,” said Eileen. “RNCV is a wonderful organization that provides assistance to so many people in many different ways.”
The diversity of age, interests, talents and skills of nurses make this a vital and innovative group of professionals who truly make a difference throughout the community. Membership with RNCV offers nurses the opportunity to continue their education and remain abreast of current trends, increase awareness of community health resources and needs, use professional skills with flexibility in choice of service area and scheduling, and network with fellow members of the nursing profession. Any registered nurse with license to practice is eligible. For more information about RNCV, call (918) 835-9662.
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Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.