NEW YORK NURSE: January 2013
Nurses have responded to the storm by doing what we do best – caring.
NYSNA nurses launched a coordinated Disaster Relief campaign.
Hundreds of nurses have volunteered: staffing emergency field clinics, and going door-to-door in the hard-hit neighborhoods.
They’ve found thousands of New Yorkers with urgent, and unattended medical issues.
Their blood pressure meds had run out. People with asthma couldn’t run their nebulizers, because they didn’t have power. Homeowners were being exposed to mold and dangerous chemicals.
Here are some of their stories.
Mary Fitzgerald, RN, is a nurse at Montefiore Medical Center. And on her days off, she’s been volunteering with relief work in the Rockaways.
“When I went down I didn’t think I would be so overwhelmed by the devastation that was out there,” Mary said. “As a nurse, I’m trained to deal with shocking and difficult situations.”
“I’ve never been in a war zone but this was as close to one as I could imagine. There were blocks of houses that I used to walk by as a kid that were gutted with fire—places I knew and loved were just wiped off the map.”
“I went door to door doing medical assessments, walking up the dark halls and seeing people who had no water and couldn’t even flush their toilets. The dust and smell that was in the air was overwhelming and I had never seen so many people utterly devastated.”
“At first I felt helpless. But then I saw how people were coming together doing whatever they could to help each other and it gave me hope.”
In the Rockaways, NYSNA volunteers teamed up with volunteer EMTs, doctors, and community members, and Occupy Sandy.
Watch the video about NYSNA’s relief work in the Rockaways at www.vimeo.com/nysna/rockaways
The storm hit two months ago, but many people still have urgent medical needs.
Patricia Caridad, RN, NYSNA’s relief coordinator on Staten Island sees it every day: “It ranges everywhere from basic first aid to mental health. And a lot of respiratory problems are coming to light.”
“I’m worried about the flu. It’s hard to get a flu shot out here. A lot of people still can’t get to their primary care physician.”
And the cleanup is bringing new hazards: “Clean-up workers are getting injured.”
Patricia is helping to coordinate volunteer relief work on Staten Island. Teams are going out every day – and your nursing skills are needed.
The baby was almost naked, cold, and shivering. Her mother was in tears.
“We got her some clothes. We got her some blankets. We got her warmed up.”
That’s Eileen Lappin, RN, a nurse at Staten Island University Hospital. On her day off, she was working with a team of volunteers at a Staten Island relief site.
That’s just one life that nurse volunteers helped save.
Watch the video about NYSNA’s relief work in Staten Island at www.vimeo.com/nysna/statenisland
Your nursing skills are still needed in the recovery.
Teams of nurses are staffing medical clinics and going door-to-door conducting medical assessments.
Volunteer shifts are available on Coney Island, Staten Island, and the Rockaways.
Sign up for a shift at www.nysna.org/volunteer