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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

“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 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 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.”

Courses Related to ‘Disaster Preparedness’

CE681: When Disasters Strike
 (1 contact hr)

This module features an overview of disaster management in EDs, including the definition of the four stages of disaster management and the appropriate triage of patients. It also describes the unique considerations of disasters that involve a chemical, radiological, or biological agent. Preparation of ED personnel, such as EMTs and RNs, will enable them to respond to disasters and the patient populations affected by them more effectively.

CE409-60: RNs Shelter Victims of Disaster
 (1 contact hr)

Never in the history of the U.S. has disaster preparation and response been as vital as it is today. Disasters are frequently classified as manmade or from natural causes. In addition to the threat of manmade disasters — such as terrorist attacks — and natural disasters — such as fires, floods and earthquakes — the focus of disaster preparation has grown to include emerging infectious diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome and avian influenza. This module will help nurses better understand the role of Red Cross nurses during major disasters and help nurses decide whether DHS nursing may be where they can best contribute their time and talents to help their fellow citizens.

By | 2020-06-22T14:35:29-04:00 August 29th, 2017|Categories: Nursing News|Tags: |32 Comments

About the Author:

Sallie Jimenez
Sallie Jimenez is content manager for healthcare for from Relias. She develops and edits content for the blog, which covers industry news and trends in the nursing profession and healthcare. She also develops content for the Digital Editions. She has more than 25 years of healthcare journalism, content marketing and editing experience.


  1. Avatar
    Dianna Grzebyk-Knowles August 29, 2017 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    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 !


  2. Avatar
    Melissa Abrego August 29, 2017 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    I am a trauma nurse in PA, can I come and help. Logistics please

    • Avatar
      David Gaw August 30, 2017 at 10:01 pm - Reply


      Board of Nursing (BON) to Implement Disaster Licensing Procedure

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

      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:
      2.The American Red Cross, Phone: (866)526-8300
      3.Volunteer Houston, Phone: (281)656-1533
      4.Texas Gulf Coast Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster(VOAD)

      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: ).
      Nurses from non-compact states will need to follow this procedure:
      1.Pull endorsement application from the Board website:
      ◾Licensed Vocational Nurses:
      ◾Registered Nurses:

      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: 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:

      5.Complete the appropriate application form(s) and submit the completed PDF form(s) to the BON:
      ◦ Email to: [email protected]
      ◦ 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 [email protected] to inform the Board of the intent to hire relief nurses to respond to the disaster.

      updated 8/30/2017

      David Gaw
      ReadyLink Staffing

  3. Avatar
    Maggie Williams August 31, 2017 at 5:18 am - Reply

    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.

  4. Avatar
    Erin Noser August 31, 2017 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    I have been a nurse for over 30 years and want to help. Please email or call me for details of how I can help. 540–622–8708
    and email [email protected]

  5. Sallie Jimenez
    Sallie Jimenez August 31, 2017 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    To everyone who has requested more information on how to help Hurricane Harvey victims, we heard you loud and clear! Thank you for your concern and willingness to help. Please read this article, which includes information on several organizations that might be of interest to you.

  6. Avatar
    Mary Rogers August 31, 2017 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    Willing to help. 23 years as a nurse, most ICU and Recovery Room. 585 754 3834

  7. Avatar
    Kristie Goldberg September 1, 2017 at 1:08 am - Reply

    I have been an RN for 15 yrs with 11yrs in the OR. I am willing to help where needed.

  8. Avatar
    Deborah Falk. 206 9797957 September 1, 2017 at 4:20 am - Reply

    I am a Critical Care Nurse from Seattle. Over 36 years experience
    Would like to help

  9. Avatar
    Millie Marcano September 1, 2017 at 8:44 am - Reply

    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?

  10. Avatar
    Stephenie September 1, 2017 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    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.

  11. Avatar
    Jennifer Pritchard September 1, 2017 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    Lpn for 1 year. Would love to help out with Harvey victims. Please send info.

  12. Avatar
    Adriane Taylor September 1, 2017 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Let me know where to go

    • Avatar
      gennet yohannes September 2, 2017 at 12:23 am - Reply

      I am RN with over 30 yrs experience live in San Antonio TX please tell me what i can help

  13. Avatar
    Debra Rouse September 1, 2017 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    Debra Rouse RN for 30 yrs. Would love to go to Texas to aid in the relief of the Harvey victims.
    Please contact me ASAP!

  14. Avatar
    Peggy mattutat September 2, 2017 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    I an c n a med tech I can help

  15. Avatar
    Peggy mattutat September 2, 2017 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    I an c n a med tech I can help I would need passage and room board I live in Florida and have disaster relief Ed from red crosd

  16. Avatar
    Diane Blessing September 2, 2017 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    I would love to help. I have been a LPN for over 3 years. I have worked in disaster relief before. Email [email protected]

  17. Avatar
    Shelia cole September 3, 2017 at 2:55 am - Reply

    I an Rn willing to work if needed.

  18. Avatar
    Tamra Kuhn September 3, 2017 at 11:10 am - Reply

    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!!

  19. Avatar
    Melanie vidal September 3, 2017 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    Lpn of 10 years for special needs and medically fragile kids. Can I help?

    • Avatar
      santo balfino September 6, 2017 at 12:11 am - Reply

      I am Italian nurse for 30 year special emergency and first aid

  20. Avatar
    April September 8, 2017 at 1:44 am - Reply

    RN long term care charge nurse and supervisor. 5 years experience. Would love to help. How do I apply?

  21. Avatar
    Rhonda Wilhoit September 8, 2017 at 9:26 pm - Reply

    LPN for 12 years. Willing to help. Live in Michigan. ED trained. Email [email protected]

  22. Avatar
    samantha Williams September 9, 2017 at 12:02 am - Reply

    I am a LPN in NEW YORK state. I would like to help but don’t know who to contact. Someone please help me
    [email protected]

  23. Avatar
    Susie Hill September 9, 2017 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    I am available to help out in Texas or Florida if needed!! Registered nurse 21 years!!

  24. Avatar
    Joyce Fulton September 9, 2017 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    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.

  25. Avatar
    Georganne Rhodes September 10, 2017 at 6:28 am - Reply

    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.

  26. Avatar
    Jelicious Baker September 10, 2017 at 2:26 pm - Reply

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

  27. Avatar
    Italia Patterson, RN September 13, 2017 at 12:42 am - Reply

    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

  28. Avatar
    Italia Patterson, RN September 13, 2017 at 12:42 am - Reply

    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

  29. Avatar
    Deborah Oestmann September 23, 2017 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    Certified diabetes educator, Certified Case manager, experience with geriatrics, SNP, home health.

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