Volunteer nurses provide medical care in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian


A team of four RNRN nurses help communities in Port Charlotte and Englewood, Florida

Registered Nurses Response Network (RNRN), in partnership with International Medical Corps, deployed a team of volunteer nurses to Florida earlier this month to help provide medical assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. The RNRN team, made up of four nurses, returned yesterday from their two-week deployment.

RNRN is a disaster relief project of the California Nurses Foundation (CNF) and National Nurses United (NNU). Since its inception in 2005, the RNRN has dispatched teams of nurses to assist in the aftermath of disasters in locations across the United States and around the world.

RNRN nurses traveled to Florida on October 3, five days after the Category 4 hurricane hit Florida’s southwest coast. RNs kicked off Oct. 4 in the southwest coast community of Port Charlotte, helping to staff International Medical Corps’ Mobile Medical Unit (MMU), which works closely with the Florida Department of Health. to provide services in the communities. with the greatest need.

The RNRN team began their deployment in Port Charlotte, staffing the clinic and going door-to-door to let people know that a mobile medical unit was available to provide health services. “When we got to Port Charlotte, there was no power or water,” recalls Venessa Soldo-Jones, a registered nurse in the emergency department at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. “People needed electricity to run their oxygen or to refrigerate their insulin. People also just needed to talk. There was a need for mental health services.

“We did wellness checks as we went door to door and if anyone needed a generator we provided one,” said nurse Tammi Bachechi. in trauma intensive care at Kaiser Vacaville Medical Center in Vacaville, California. “If people needed prescriptions filled, we told them to come to the mobile clinic, where doctors could prescribe medication.

The disaster relief team has identified open pharmacies so people can get their prescriptions filled. At the request of the state, on October 7, MMU moved to Englewood, settling in the parking lot of a displaced persons shelter. At the second location, the RNRN team saw residents of Englewood as well as displaced persons.

“We’ve seen people unable to manage chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension,” said Soldo-Jones, who has also volunteered for five other RNRN disaster relief deployments, including the Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Hurricane Michael in Florida and Hurricane Dorian in Grand Bahama Island. “People have also presented with Covid-like symptoms or respiratory illness due to mold in their homes. People needed treatment for injuries they had sustained during the storm or after. We were able to give them tetanus shots provided by the state health department. »

“At the clinic, we also vaccinated people against the flu,” said Bachechi, who previously volunteered on RNRN deployments during Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Dorian. . “We also gave people bottled water and tarps to help cover the holes in their roof.”

“It was amazing to see the community come together to help each other,” Bacheki said. “People welcomed neighbors and shared resources.”

Yesterday, the RNRN sent a second team of volunteer nurses to Florida.

RNRN, a project of NNU and the California Nurses Foundation and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a national direct care RN network powered by National Nurses United that coordinates the dispatch of ‘AI volunteers in disaster areas where and when they are needed. Interested RNs can register here to volunteer.


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