Hurricane Irma: Helping my Country and my Teammates
Editor’s Note: This is the first post in a weekly four-part series highlighting teammates who supported the Village during two hurricanes in 2017.
My first day of nursing clinicals in the first semester of my registered nursing program was on Sept. 11, 2001—a day in U.S. history that will never be forgotten. I knew since then, if I was able to help my country in any way, that there would be no doubt that I would. Then, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma happened. I was ecstatic to learn that DaVita was looking for volunteers to help out the communities affected by these natural disasters and after 14 years working as a registered nurse in California, I did not think twice about volunteering.
At first I was on standby to go to Houston, Texas; however, as relief was wrapping up, I received a telephone call asking if I was interested in going to Miami, Florida as Hurricane Irma was about to hit. A few days later, I received the telephone call that I was chosen and two days later, I was on an airplane to Florida. Upon arrival, the only indication of hurricane damage was the many trees blown over and debris already gathered for disposal. Food was limited as well as many restaurants, including the hotel I was staying at, did not have viable food due to lack of electricity for many days prior to my arrival.
I was in Florida for a total of nine days and worked four shifts at West Boynton Clinic in Boynton Beach, Florida and one shift at Greater Miami Clinic in Miami, Florida. All of the teammates I worked with were so welcoming! In fact, most Floridians I encountered throughout my stay were welcoming and thankful for all of the volunteers. Everyone had a positive outlook even though many teammates were without electricity for several days.
During my stay in Florida, I saw many trees blown over along with large freeway metal signs bent in half. I saw many military officials carrying supplies driving on the freeways. I met other volunteers, mostly loggers, who were there to help cut away trees so that electricity could be restored.
I learned a lot working in the state of Florida. The RN responsibilities are basically the same in California; however, the hemodialysis technician scope of practice is quite different. The clinic I worked at also had the newer dialysis machines, so I had to adapt quickly to these changes. I will be forever grateful to DaVita for giving me this opportunity and if the opportunity presents itself again in the future, I will definitely volunteer again without hesitation.
“One for All.”