Helping After Harvey

The number of travel nurses responding to the call for help in Texas after effects of Harvey was overwhelming.  Many nurses who have not traveled in the past are now wanting to know how can they help.  We have discovered information that might be helpful if you have the time to travel and take a temporary position.  Let me just say that these agencies are generally overwhelmed with people calling to get information or reply so be patient.

How Medical Professionals can help:

Helping could mean a donation of blood, or money. We all know the work that the American Red Cross does by coordinating and recruiting medical and mental health professional volunteers for disaster relief operations. Red Cross requires a nine-day commitment as well as special Red Cross training. They are in need of licensed nurses, EMTs, paramedics, physician’s assistants, MDs and DOs.

You can also check out the  Texas Volunteer Registry.  They facilitate assignments of those who want to help during a disaster. Volunteers who spontaneously respond to disaster sites are unable to placed and their effort goes to waste

Licensing during a disaster

The Texas Board of Nursing has implemented disaster licensing procedures for nurses who want to help.  As of now the board is waiving fees and quickly granting temporary licenses.

Fastaff travel nursing offers expedited applications for nurses who want to volunteer in Texas. The effects of the hurricaines will last for months so Fastaff recruiters are currently filling immediate openings in Texas.  They will be expecting more need in the future as the waters recede. At this time they are seeking nurses in multiple specialties. As a trsveler you must be able to leave at a moment’s notice to serve in these urgent and crucial situations.

The Medical Reserve Corps

A related group to the Texas Volunteer Registry is the Medical Reserve Corps.  The MRC is a national network of local volunteer professionals who respond to disasters. They are always recruitinghealthcare  volunteers to join the corp.  They organized locally to improve the health and safety of their communities.

Another Way to Help

Many nurses and medical professionals are unable to donate their time and skills in the wake of Harvey.  Another way to help is with blood and monetary donations. Before you donate check out websites like Charity Navigator to read summaries and compare grades of organizations that are said to be helping in Harvey’s wake.

You may also check out the the Federal Trade Commissions “Charity Checklist”.  The FTC’s website notes:

Charities that spring up too suddenly in response to current events and natural disasters are likely to be scams.  Be aware of these notes the FTC website says. Check to make sure they have the infrastructure to get the donations to the affected area or people.

Here are a variety of links to explore:

• The Red Cross online or text HARVEY to 90999 will take credit cards and PayPal for donations of at least $10.

• The Texas Nurses Association, via the “Nurses Helping Nurses Affected by Hurricane Harvey” fund, will take e-checks or credit-card donations of at least $10.

• A fund started by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner at The Greater Houston Community Foundation is accepting donations via its website, by snail mail or wire transfer.

Carter BloodCare offers 20 locations in Texas, and can be reached at 877-385-8724.

Catholic Charities offers a variety of ways to give — online and otherwise — toward supporting survivors of different (or no) religious backgrounds.

The Salvation Army says it has been mobilizing on “the front lines” of areas damaged by Harvey. They are reportedly staffing at least 36 shelters in the Houston area, and offices also provide individual food boxes, bottled water, cleanup kits and comfort kits.

• Send Relief/Southern Baptist Disaster Relief was preparing to help Harvey survivors even before the storm struck the Gulf.

More help for Texas

Volunteer Houston on Monday launched a volunteer portal to facilitate those who want to assist in Harvey recovery.

• The Feeding Texas food bank notes that, for most wanting to support disaster relief, the best path is through financial support.

• The Texas Diaper Bank distributes diapers to babies, adults and the disabled. They report that it has taken in at least $2 million in Harvey-related collections so far.

• The SPCA of Texas takes in troubled pets and other animals. Going forward, they’re requesting monetary donations . Gift cards to Petco would help. If you are willing to volunteer in person, the Louisiana SPCA is taking applications.

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Cheryl Roby, RN

Cheryl J. Roby is a retired RN and US Army Nurse Major. She has over 30 years of nursing experience and 26 years of military experience in the Army Nurse Corp. During her nursing career she has traveled as part of her military experience visiting many of the 50 states and once to South Korea. Her medical training began during the Vietnam era when trained as an army medic. She went on to train as an OR tech and then as a LVN/LPN. She completed nursing school and was direct commissioned into the reserve Army Nurse Corp. nurse. She appreciated the challenge of working in various specialties and expanding her clinical and professional skill sets. Her time in the Army Reserves and California National Guard gave her the opportunity to travel to most of the 50 states and working in other medical facilities. During her career she spent years as an OR nurse, Occupational Health Nurse, Hospice Nurse, Forensic Nurse, Nurse Case Manager for developmental disabilities, Parish Nursing as well as being a Nurse Entrepreneur.