For as long as she can remember, Jacqueline “Jackie” Cassagnol wanted to be a nurse. Her Aunt Joyce, who has been practicing nursing for more than 30 years, is likely the one to thank. Starting as a medical-surgical nurse and later becoming the head of her hospital’s clinics, Aunt Joyce always had stories to share of an exciting day in the hospital. Both Cassagnol and her brother pursued professions in the medical field. While he became an obstetrician and gynecologist, she became a nurse. Little did Aunt Joyce know how much of an inspiration she had become!
A young girl’s dream has since matured into a dynamic woman’s mission. Cassagnol is the founder and president of Worldwide Community First Responder, Inc. (WCFR): a charitable organization that strives “to prevent deaths worldwide through education and training.” Through WCFR, she develops educational and training programs, seeking to save lives by empowering individuals in their communities to serve as first responders when disaster strikes. Her focus is currently primarily in the United States and Haiti.
Cassagnol joined Sigma Theta Tau International because she was passionate about its mission to improve world health through knowledge. She has helped propel WCFR by utilizing The Circle, STTI’s professional online network, to communicate and connect with a global network of nurse leaders. “Members can easily connect with each other through The Circle to voice their interest in getting more involved at the chapter level and globally,” she says.
Inducted into STTI’s Zeta Omega-at-Large Chapter in November 2010, Cassagnol has since taken on various leadership roles within STTI. “The STTI membership experience is not complete without getting involved,” she says. “My involvement in chapter, regional, and international-level activities has given me the opportunity to serve the nursing community in providing leadership and scholarship in practice, education, and research.” Cassagnol is currently a member of the STTI International Member Connect and Engagement Task Force, she’s the Region 14 communications chair, and she facilitates the Community Health Community and the Disaster Preparedness Community in The Circle.
If there is one thing that Cassagnol wants people to know about STTI, it’s that it supports its members. The honor society has encouraged partnerships with nonprofits such as WCFR through networking and promotion. For example, there was an article in Reflections on Nursing Leadership — STTI’s online member magazine — about WCFR titled “How do you prepare for chaos?” Furthermore, STTI featured WCFR in its 90th Anniversary Tribute video for work done in partnership with a nursing school in Haiti.
“WCFR would not have been what it is today without the support of STTI and its members,” asserts Cassagnol. The honor society has helped strengthen her personally as a global nurse leader and scholar and professionally by bringing greater awareness to her nonprofit and its mission.