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How to Help in Texas

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How to help Our nurses in Texas? It's a multifactorial problem with many needs. What can YOU do? Read on...

by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist)

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

How to Help in Texas

A lot of nurses around the country are wanting to help their fellow colleagues in Texas, but not sure how to start. Conditions in Houston and surrounding areas are not getting better, and help may be needed for longer than originally thought. Nurses in some affected hospitals are staying 24/7, surrounded by flooded roads.

Show Me Your Stethoscope (SMYS) Fb group led by Janie Garner, is spearheading relief efforts and sharing information on their page.

I keep hearing a need for NICU nurses in Houston and Dallas. At the same time, there can be bottlenecks getting nurses from airports to facilities. Some nurses are being helicoptered in. Patients are unable to get to dialysis centers and nursing home residents have been displaced in large numbers. Patients are being discharged with no where to go and living in the ED.

Help is needed in shelters as well as hospitals. Displaced behavioral patients need mental health professionals who are trained in communicating with this population.

If you are thinking of going to help in Texas, do not self-deploy. Go through a reputable organization. Here's a couple helpful links I found:

The Texas BON is sending RNs with compact licenses to the Texas Department of State Health Services . This volunteer registry matches skills with emergency needs

If you do not have a compact license, the Texas BON explains the procedure for obtaining an expedited temporary Texas RN license, good for 120 days. Write "HARVEY" on the application. Another option is to contact a travel agency, for example, Trustaff is walking nurses through the process. The travel agencies are knowledgable about licensing.

Here's a link to deploy with the Red Cross as a health professional volunteer

However, their site is overloaded at this time and you may have to try several times. I've also heard their first priority is donations, and not deploying nurses. Needs include: dry socks for policemen, feminine hygiene products for shelters, barrier cream for nursing home residents or displaced residents, and bug spray.

There are many other organizations than the Red Cross accepting donations. The Texas Diaper Bank collects and disperses diapers for babies/toddlers in crisis. Read Help! In Texas for a list of charitable agencies.

Some travel agencies (Meridian, Aya, Fastaff) are offering crisis pay, depending on specialty. For example, Meridian is paying $52.00/hour and sending nurses to San Antonio and Austin. Two week contracts and other flexible arrangements are available. note: this is NOT an endorsement of any particular travel agency. There are many agencies out there, too numerous to list. Some have contracts with facilities in need, some do not.

On social media, use hashtag #HarveyNurses to show support for our sister and brother nurses working tirelessly to help out.

Hoping others will have more information, please add. Best wishes, Nurse Beth

Nurse Beth is an Educator, Writer, Blogger and Subject Matter Expert who blogs about nursing career advice at http://nursecode.com

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5 Comment(s)

tnbutterfly - Mary, BSN, RN

Specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

Beth, thanks for posting this wealth of information. This will be very helpful to those who want to help.

Thank you, I'm an RN from NYS and I am trying to find a way to help my fellow nurses in Texas!

Please don't waste your time attempting to get information from Dr Fowler listed in the article. I emailed him and the response I got back was... "I think that a TX license would be required. don't you?". And that was it. I am completely blown away by the level of unprofessionalism when I simply wanted information on how I could help!

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Thanks Kayreeder. Good to know. Dr. Fowler's information has been edited out.

sideshowstarlet, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Developmental Disorders. Has 8 years experience.

If you are a Texas resident, you can also sign up with the TX Disaster Volunteer Registry. You can sign up with the Medical Reserves in any county or to work in hospitals in affected areas. As a volunteer, you can choose length of deployment and which county, and they will filter missions based on your preferences, certifications, and experience. TDVR

Edited to add: I signed up with Red Cross yesterday. The site messed up twice while I was filling out the background paperwork, but it went through. Now, I guess it's just a waiting game. I also signed up with TDVR yesterday and completed my profile. Haven't heard anything from them yet.

I've donated to Red Cross already last weekend, but I need to get back to work (still have low census at my hospital, but could be much worse) and pay off bills for supplies, hotel rooms for me and my parents, minor dental procedure only partially covered by insurance, and this month's rent before I can realistically donate more. But there is a Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund at globalgiving.com: Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund - GlobalGiving. It focuses on short term relief and long term rebuilding. Original goal was $2 million, but today the goal increased to $5 million.

Edited by sideshowstarlet
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