As I read and responded to Dawn Olsen’s call to donate, I was reminded that I had fallen behind schedule in reporting other ways to help those caught in the storm that was Katrina.
How many of you realize that rescue and healthcare workers don’t benefit from the same evacuation measures in a disaster plan that the rest of the citizens are afforded? Doctors, nurses, and other essential hospital personnel are among the firemen, paramedics, and police that must remain on the scene to tend those in trouble. In the process, they’re often unable to secure their homes or protect their families and/or precious memories from injury, damage, and/or theft. They are also vulnerable to all the same illnesses and injuries their patients face.
From the American Nurses Foundation:
While many organizations such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army are collecting funds to assist the Hurricane Katrina evacuees, we have learned that a large number of nurses have also been impacted by Katrina. In response to many requests for a way “for nurses to take care of their own”, the American Nurses Foundation has created the Katrina Nurses Fund. One hundred percent (100%) of all funds donated to the American Nurses Foundation for this fund will be contributed to assist nurses in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Additionally funds will be provided to assist nurses opening their homes for families or evacuee nurses
The Care Fund says:
Hospital employees in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama suffered devastating losses from Hurricane Katrina – some lost everything, yet they continued caring for their patients and neighbors who were ill or suffered injury as a result of the storm.
If you haven’t already donated to relief efforts, or have and are willing to donate more, please consider either/both of these organizations. After all, when you are faced with hospitalization and illness, nurses are the ones who are there for you – 24/7/365, disaster or no disaster. We’re there, we care, and we serve.
Yes, I am a nurse. I worked through the devastating fires that consumed many homes and destroyed lives in San Diego back in 2003. I had families who’d lost homes and loved ones to the flames. I prepared my patients (and their families) for evacuation from the hospital. The whole while, I worried and wondered about my own family, trusting that my sisters, mother, father, ex-husband, and my boyfriend had seen to evacuation preparation. My job was to remain at the hospital despite my thoughts occasionaly wandering home. I know what it’s like to be left behind to face the needs of the community. Like the men and women who remained to care for patients and the community during Katrina, we long for family and home, but believe that our patients are just as important.
Hospitals and medical centers spend a great deal of time preparing for disasters. Earthquake, fire, explosion, chemical spill, terrorism, bioterrorism, tornado, and hurricane scenarios are worked into our disaster manuals. We have drills. We take classes. And, we know our roles. We tend to the patients we already have and prepare for those yet to come. We know that it won’t just be bodies that will be broken and scarred, but minds and hearts as well. Outlying communities prepare in the same manner for overflow.
Those of us who choose a career in healthcare at this level understand our duties and commintment. It’s a choice we make – because we care. It’s what we do.
And, if you are a nurse or other medical worker, you can find information about volunteering to help those still in need simply by following the instructions available on the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services website.
Sadly, due to my post-operative state, I cannot join those who head south and join the relief efforts. But I can, and will, educate others on what is needed while I pray for the relief workers’ safety and success in caring for those in need.Powered by Sidelines