The Emergency Department (ED) nurses at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown and UM Shore Emergency Center at Queenstown usually are most concerned with the well-being of their ED patients. There are times, however, when outside events add another focus to their activities – and Hurricane Matthew was one of those events.
“We found out how desperate and critical the situation was in North Carolina,” said Anne George, RN, of UM Shore Emergency Center at Queenstown. “ED nurses there were working around the clock. It was so difficult to get around that some of them were being transported to their hospitals on jet skis!”
The idea of supporting the North Carolina ED nurses quickly was embraced by the ED nurses at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown. The nurses at both facilities decided to make a small change to how they usually celebrated Emergency Nurses Week (from October 9th through October 15th this year). Instead of doing something for themselves, they decided to use the money to help their fellow ED nurses in areas stricken by the hurricane.
“We heard about the idea from Mary Alice Vanhoy at a meeting,” said Shelly Dunkerly, RN, of the ED at Chestertown. “Our ED nursing staff got together to assemble care package boxes with snacks and goodies and other necessary things that the ED nurses would not have the time or resources to go out and get.”
“I’m from North Carolina, and I know what damage hurricanes can do,” said Mary Alice Vanhoy, manager of the UM Shore Emergency Center at Queenstown and the emergency department at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown. “I know where the rivers flood and crest and where the vulnerable areas are.”
That knowledge came in handy when deciding where in North Carolina the boxes would be sent.
“Mary Alice chose three small hospitals,” said George. We contacted the CEOs of the hospitals and the nursing departments to let them know that help was on its way!”
In addition to all the thoughtful items, the boxes included a message of support signed by all of the ED nurses.
“Being from the same type of department we can relate to how busy they are and how intense the job is,” said Dunkerly. “We wanted to give them hope and let them know that people are supporting them and thinking of them.”