In the chaos after Hurricane Ike, faculty and students from the University of Houston-Victoria School of Nursing stood up to help get life back to normal in the Houston area and beyond.
They volunteered at Red Cross shelters and other emergency locations to help care for patients and comfort people.
"Nurses take care of people; it''s what we do," said Kathryn Tart, founding dean of the UHV School of Nursing. "The profession attracts people who are intelligent, naturally compassionate caregivers."
A recent survey of students and faculty found that a group of 22 volunteered at least 122 hours in the wake of Ike. Many of them had to evacuate and deal with power outages at their homes at the same time.
Tart led by example by spending three days and one night at a Red Cross shelter in Pasadena, a hard-hit area in southeast Harris County.
She helped assist evacuees with medical issues including high blood pressure, diabetes and missing medications.
"Most of these people had just lost everything," Tart said. "They came with their children looking for a place to eat and sleep and just be safe. The Red Cross shelter did not have a nurse, so I helped where I could."
Assistant Professor Ginger Blomstrom volunteered at two Red Cross locations, the same shelter as Tart and another one in Sugar Land.
"Volunteering is not new to me," she said, noting she’s been involved with the Red Cross her whole life. "When there is a crisis, we all need to gather our resources and use our talents."
Blomstrom used her skills as a clinical nurse specialist in psychiatric nursing to counsel people under stress, mediate family conflicts, comfort scared children, and even make coffee.
Master’s student Lance Neill traveled to a shelter in San Antonio with a group from Northside Baptist Church in Victoria.
The mission work called upon his culinary skills, rather than his nursing skills, as he helped cook food for several hundred people in multiple shelters.
"It really impressed me the way everyone came together to take care of so many different needs," he said.
Tart took great pride in the work done by those who are part of her school.
"The compassion they showed, and continue to show, is a great credit to this institution," she said. "This is one more way our school serves our communities."
The UHV School of Nursing offers bachelor''s and master''s degrees in nursing at locations in Sugar Land and Victoria. For more information, contact recruiter Tammy Whatley at 361-570-4297 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.uhv.edu/nursing.