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Healthcare Providers Take Off for Texas, Lending a Hand to Overwhelmed Hospitals

Christina Mattina
AJMC caught up with several healthcare professionals at a New Jersey airport before they took off for Houston to help out in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, calls for healthcare professionals to volunteer in the affected areas have been spread through social media nationwide, and the response has been overwhelming. One Texas hospital’s request for 90 nurses was met within days after being broadcast by New Jersey hospital and nursing groups. By Thursday morning, dozens of healthcare professionals were boarding 2 planes to Houston, where they will relieve the nurses and doctors who have been working around the clock since Harvey struck.

Before their jets took off, The American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) asked 3 nurses, a doctor, and the president of the New Jersey Hospital Association about their motivations and expectations for the trip.



James Pruden, MD

Emergency Medicine Doctor, St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, Paterson, NJ

AJMC: What made you want to go down to Texas?

I was on the Urban Search and Rescue Team for the state New Jersey Task Force for about 20 years; I stood down from the team in the spring of this year and now they’re in Texas. I’m saying, “Oh no, I missed it! I missed it!” And this opportunity came up, and so I had to. I had to.

Alexia Nolette, RN

Medical/Surgical Nurse, Overlook Medical Center, Summit, NJ

AJMC: What does it mean to you to be able to help out your fellow nurses?

It means everything to me. I love nursing; that’s why I got into it and I do what I do. I’m still kind of a new nurse, so it’s all very exciting to me, and to be able to help those out that need it is a blessing. I’m lucky to be able to help.

Janet Martinez, BSN, RN

Emergency Department Nurse, Christiana Care, Newark, DE

AJMC: How did you hear about this trip and what made you want to go?

I heard about this trip on Facebook. I was kind of hesitant about it, because you know, not all things on Facebook are real, so it was kind of nerve-wracking. But in my heart I knew I wanted to go and help out in Houston. I did move from Texas about one and a half years ago for the job at Christiana, and I knew I had to go back and help.

Kay Cawman, RN

Cardiac Prep & Hold Nurse, Christiana Care, Newark, DE

AJMC: What kind of cases are you expecting to see and help out with down there?

Probably a lot of people with stress-induced injuries, and pain, and issues like that. They probably just have the regular patients that were there before the storm that need to be taken care of.

Elizabeth Ryan, Esq

President and CEO, New Jersey Hospital Association

AJMC: Were you surprised by the uptake you received from the nurses, the interest?

I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised that we could pull this off in such a short period of time. I’m not surprised, cause this is what these folks do each and every day, but I’m surprised that logistically we could pull it off and have 2 planes in Teterboro Airport ready to go on a [Thursday] morning when the call came on a Tuesday.

 
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