November 8, 2023
What started out as a WhatsApp support group for ultra-Orthodox nurses has transformed into a volunteer hub of 1,400 men and women eager to help the 4,500 wounded men, women and children hospitalized across the nation.
Kol Israel Nurses Association (KIN) was set up last year by faculty members of Jerusalem College of Technology’s (JCT) Selma Jelinek School of Nursing Dr. Hila Videl, Netanel Foxbrumer and Avi Kirshberg, to help coordinate opportunities for students and graduates to spring into action in order to reinforce the country’s strained health care system. Most of the volunteers are students and graduates from JCT’s nursing school.
The initiative continues JCT’s decades-long contribution to the State of Israel. Hundreds of JCT students were drafted by the IDF, including 75 percent of JCT’s male nursing students. Many others are aiding the war effort in hospitals and through volunteering with Magen David Adom and United Hatzalah.
The effort is largely focused on getting volunteers where they are needed and on providing Emergency Nursing Refresher Courses for those medical professionals who have not handled trauma or shock patients in years.
“On the very first day of the war, we quickly mobilized numerous volunteers to support medical centers. This became crucial as many healthcare workers were unable to work due to the loss of family members and friends, coupled with the shock of the situation. Organizing this volunteer effort played a significant role in addressing this crisis,” explained Dr. Videl.
“Many of our students have already been called up for reserves,” Dr. Ahuva Spitz, head of JCT’s Selma Jelinek School of Nursing, added. “Some students volunteer with emergency response organizations and many others volunteer in hospitals across the country.”
The duration of the volunteer work differs based on one’s availability, Dr. Spitz explained, with some students volunteering a couple shifts a week and others working at hospitals around the clock. “The resilience on the home front and the sheer volume of volunteers who have stepped up to the plate to help has been tremendous,” she said.
JCT has charged staff members with working closely with a Health Ministry hotline, where volunteers are needed the most. JCT then dispatches its students nationally, based on need.