Nurses are called to help after Hurricane Harvey wreaks havoc




Austin, Texas, area nurses and physicians who serve in the National Guard are being called to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, according to an article in the Austin-American Statesman.

Judith Chedville, an advance practice nurse with Austin Regional Clinic, was scheduled to arrive in Dallas Monday night to meet unit 949 BSB Charlie Company, which has members throughout the state who are trained to handle mass casualties, according to the article.

Chedville is one of 12,000 members of the Texas Army and Air National Guard who were mobilized Aug. 28. Active duty units also are on standby to deal with the flooding and continuing rain in the affected area, according to Military.com.

“It is imperative that we do everything possible to protect the lives and safety of people across the state of Texas as we continue to face the aftermath of this storm,” Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas said in the Military.com article.

About 900 Texas Guard members were mobilized before Harvey hit the Gulf Coast Friday and Abbott increased the number to 3,000 on Sunday.

Although, she is not a member of the military, critical care nurse Allie Pillow of Nashville also is making her way to Texas to lend a hand, along with a few other local nurses.

“It’s all hands on deck, all the time,” Pillow said, according to a WKRN.com article. “People don’t ask questions. You just do whatever you need to do.”

In the article, Pillow expressed concern for her fellow nurses in Texas. “These ER nurses that are stuck down there, they have lost everything,” said Pillow. “But they don’t know the actual devastation because they’re not able to leave the hospital.”

These ER nurses that are stuck down there, they have lost everything. But they don’t know the actual devastation because they’re not able to leave the hospital.”

Pillow will fly to Dallas where she will board a bus to Houston, followed by a boat ride to a Houston hospital. “It’s the nature of what I feel like of our profession is, we want to help others,” Pillow said in the article.

Pillow is aware she may not be required to provide “normal emergency care” when she arrives. “… it’s things like cholera, it’s things like tetanus,” said Pillow. “There’s so many things that are gonna be coming up.”

While many hospitals and health systems made significant investments in disaster preparations and fortifying their facilities in the post-Tropical Storm Allison and post-Katrina era, a hurricane and its aftermath still can wreak havoc, no matter how prepared a hospital is. “We’ve made significant investments,” Umair Shah, MD, MPH, executive director of Harris County’s public health department,” said according to an Aug. 28 New York Times article. “The challenge is until it unfolds there’s so many moving pieces and it’s never the same as the situations you’ve previously encountered.”

According to the article, water rose in the basement of Ben Taub Hospital, which had spent billions of dollars on flood protections. Officials announced an evacuation on Aug. 27, but could not begin evacuations because the hospital was surrounded by water and rescuers could not reach its 350 patients. On Monday afternoon, a call went out on local radio for a vendor to provide food for the hospital, according to the article.

As of Monday afternoon, 10 to 15 other hospitals and various nursing homes, some in rural communities, also have evacuated or begun evacuating since the storm made landfall.

We can be dry and open, but if you can’t deliver patients to the medical center, that’s our biggest concern.”

Other hospitals, while still able to operate, were cut off by floodwater from patients trying to reach them. Hospital staff members had trouble getting to work as well, according to the New York Times article.

In parts of the state, Harvey knocked out utilities, forcing hospitals to rely on backup systems.

Texas Medical Center in Houston’s post-Allison preparations at most of its hospitals appeared to have proven beneficial during Hurricane Harvey, as submarine doors protected foundations and kept the power on.

With ambulance routes flooded, however, potential patients had difficulty reaching the complex. “I’ve never heard so few sirens as I have in the last few days, which is upsetting,” William McKeon, Texas Medical Center’s president and chief executive, said in the New York Times article. “We can be dry and open, but if you can’t deliver patients to the medical center, that’s our biggest concern.”

 


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About the author
Sallie Jimenez

Sallie Jimenez 

Sallie Jimenez, who is Content Manager for Healthcare, develops and edits content for OnCourse Learning’s Nurse.com blog, which covers industry news and trends in the nursing profession and healthcare. She also develops content for the OnCourse Learning/Nurse.com Digital Resource Guides. She has more than 22 years of healthcare journalism, content marketing and editing experience.

32 responses to “Nurses are called to help after Hurricane Harvey wreaks havoc”

  1. Would like to come and help. Am a Registered Nurse of approximately 30 years in state of New Jersey. Leaving my information, Please let me
    How I can assist !

    Dianna

    • From https://www.bon.texas.gov/hurricaneharvey.asp

      Board of Nursing (BON) to Implement Disaster Licensing Procedure

      The BON is implementing a disaster licensing procedure to respond to this declared disaster

      1.BEFORE YOU APPLY FOR LICENSURE:
      Inquire regarding volunteer needs and placement. The BON is not soliciting volunteers. Nurses wishing to volunteer may contact the following to inquire about volunteer needs:
      1.Texas Department of State Health Services Texas Disaster Volunteer Registry at:
      https://www.texasdisastervolunteerregistry.org/
      2.The American Red Cross, http://www.redcross.org/ Phone: (866)526-8300
      3.Volunteer Houston, http://volunteerhouston.org Phone: (281)656-1533
      4.Texas Gulf Coast Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster(VOAD)
      http://txgulfcoastvoad.org/

      2.PROCEDURE TO APPLY FOR TEMPORARY LICENSURE FOR LVNs and RNs:
      If individuals or employers are seeking to bring in nurses from other states, the BON will expedite temporary licenses by endorsement applications. LVNs and RNs from Compact states with current multistate compact licensure need not apply and may come to Texas to practice without application. (See: https://www.ncsbn.org/NLC_Map.pdf ).
      Nurses from non-compact states will need to follow this procedure:
      1.Pull endorsement application from the Board website:
      ◾Licensed Vocational Nurses:
      http://www.bon.texas.gov/pdfs/forms_pdfs/endorsement_pdfs/LVNEnd2014.pdf
      ◾Registered Nurses:
      http://www.bon.texas.gov/pdfs/forms_pdfs/endorsement_pdfs/RNEnd2014.pdf

      3.PROCEDURE TO APPLY FOR INTERIM APPROVAL to PRACTICE as an ADVANCED PRACTICE REGISTERED NURSE (APRN):
      1.Only applicants with current, unencumbered APRN licensure in another jurisdiction will be eligible for interim approval.
      2.*APRN applicants without current RN multistate compact licensure must also submit endorsement application for RN licensure (see “b.” for RN endorsement application above)
      3.Pull application for interim approval for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses at: http://www.bon.texas.gov/pdfs/forms_pdfs/APRN-RX Application.pdf
      4.APRNs requesting prescriptive authority will be reviewed for interim approval to prescribe dangerous drugs only.
      5.APRNs seeking authorization to prescribe controlled substances (schedules III-V only) must request approval from the Drug Enforcement Agency at:
      https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/disaster_relief.htm

      4.WRITE “HARVEY/[ INSERT NAME OF EMPLOYING FACILITY or AGENCY]” IN CAPS AT TOP OF APPLICATION
      5.Complete the appropriate application form(s) and submit the completed PDF form(s) to the BON:
      ◦ Email to: mark.majek@bon.texas.gov
      ◦ Fax to 512-305-7401
      6.Application fees are waived for this emergency process. Applications will be reviewed and if applicant has no current discipline or other eligibility issue, they will be issued a temporary license (LVN, RN) to practice or interim approval (APRN) for the purpose of responding to the declared emergency.
      7.This license/interim approval is valid until the BON waiver issued by the Office of the Governor is terminated or until the Hurricane Harvey disaster declaration is lifted or expires.
      8.A list of all approved temporary licenses/interim approvals issued for this purpose will be maintained by the BON.

      If an employer/facility/agency is seeking nurses for disaster relief, please send an email to mark.majek@bon.texas.gov to inform the Board of the intent to hire relief nurses to respond to the disaster.

      updated 8/30/2017

      David Gaw
      ReadyLink Staffing
      730-343-4334

  2. Im ER TRAUMA NURSE WITH oR experience. Just tell me where I can go to help please. 870-710-8068. I have a history of travel nursing and 30 years experience. I just want to help.

  3. I’m a ER nurse for over 20 years in Florida. I have many friends and family in Texas and love to help. Let me know what we can do?

  4. I’m interested in helping. I am a Rockport refugee. Our nursing home collapsed from hurricane harvey and our staff was left without jobs. 361-534-4775. I’m in desperate need of temporary work.

  5. I am an ER nurse in WV. I have 10 yrs in the ER. How can I help? My friends and I are willing to make the trip just let us know what we need to do!!

  6. The Texas Board of Nursing has on their site that getting a nursing license for disaster relief is not required in Texas if you have a current license in another state in good standing.

  7. I am an RN in California with 30+ years experience mostly ER and ICU. I would like to help wherever needed. Please let me know how I can help.

  8. Can I assist in texas without losing my fulltime nursing job . I’m a fulltime ob/gyn 18 years. Can work anywhere except ICU!

  9. I am a CT RN with nearly 30 years experience in nearly all aspects of nursing-Geriatrics; Mental Health, Community health etc… I would do whatever it takes to help people, pets….ANYTHING!!!!
    Please contact me @ 860-389-5084. Italia Patterson, RN

  10. I am a CT RN with nearly 30 years experience in nearly all aspects of nursing-Geriatrics; Mental Health, Community health etc… I would do whatever it takes to help people, pets….ANYTHING!!!!
    Please contact me @ 860-389-5084. Italia Patterson, RN

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