Four Brigham nurses answered a call for help from a Texas hospital in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, a deployment organized by the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA) on Sept. 6.
Anne Fitzgerald, BSN, RN, and Dawn Kalil, BSN, RN, both clinical nurses on Tower 12A; Diane Miller, MPA/H, BSN, RN, nurse-in-charge on Tower 11C; and Chantale Scutt, MSN, RN, clinical nurse on Tower 11C, were among the 27 Massachusetts nurses and one cath lab technician who departed from Hanscom Field airport in Bedford to assist Bay Area Regional Medical Center (BARMC) in Webster, Texas, located just outside of Houston.
BARMC reached out to the MHA to seek support as the facility and its staff recover from the hurricane. Many staff members have lost their homes to the floodwaters, and they have been fighting exhaustion to stay on the job and deal with a spike in emergency department visits.
A nurse at the Brigham for 30 years, Miller said she’s grateful she could support local nurses and thanked her nursing director, Margaret Higgins, MSN, RN, of Tower 11C and 12A, for encouraging her to pursue this volunteer opportunity.
“I went into nursing because I wanted to help people,” Miller said. “Being able to help others who are in need really gets to the heart of nursing.”
In addition to caring for BARMC patients, Miller volunteered to support relief efforts in the community.
Kalil is assisting BARMC’s labor and delivery unit, which plans to open a new birthing center next week. She was happy to help her nursing colleagues, some of whom have worked more than 75 hours a week since Harvey made landfall.
“We are here to do everything we can to help,” Kalil said. “We know they’d do the same for us if we were in a similar situation.”
Brigham Nurse Collects Donations for Hurricane Harvey Survivors
Mary Hardiman, BSN, RN, says her heart felt full each morning when she saw what was waiting for her at home in Foxborough after working the night shift at BWH. There was a stack of donations in her driveway, ready to be delivered to those affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
Knowing she wasn’t in the position to travel and help in person, Hardiman, a mother of four and a nurse in the ICU Float Pool, said she wanted to do something else to contribute to hurricane relief efforts. She solicited donations from family and friends via Facebook. Within minutes, people responded saying they also wanted to donate.
“It was amazing,” Hardiman said. “I’m so thankful to everyone in our community who contributed.”
After receiving donations such as clothing, nonperishable food items, toiletries and pet food, Hardiman made two drop-offs at the Boston Centers for Youth & Families’ Roche Family Community Center in West Roxbury, where trucks were loaded with supplies.
Hardiman was happy she could turn the collection into a teaching experience for her children, who range in age from 4 to 16, about the power of community service and the importance of helping others.
“They each had their own little part in helping make this drive a success,” she said.
Hardiman says she always tries to give back when she can because she remembers how many people helped her family when their resources were stretched thin. At that time, she was a mother to young children, attending nursing school and married to her high school sweetheart, who was in the Air Force.
“I remember what it was like to receive things you need and want when you have nothing,” she said. “I’m glad my family and I could play a small part in helping others who are in need.”