The call to help those who lost everything during Hurricane Harvey was answered by Lone Star College-Montgomery nursing students. The students possessed unique medical knowledge that was in demand during a crisis like Houston experienced.
Lisa Maybin responded to an email calling for volunteers at Lone Star Convention Center’s shelter.
“I worked a night shift,” said Maybin. “We saw patients with many diverse needs from insulin deprivation to cardiac arrest. As a nursing student, it was a privilege to do my part in community-health nursing in terms of real-life application in practice. The level of organization was incredible. Impressively, every patient was documented. We had file folders alphabetized with upwards of 300 people. It was a little hospital in the corner of a convention center. A family practice physician volunteered with us, gave orders, and watched me perform dosage calculations also helping me administer medications among the registered nurses. It was a true team effort."
Maybin said it is rare that anyone slept. Those at the shelter were frequently found pacing and worried.
“Commonly, those such as myself in the healthcare profession experience a profound survivor guilt, which encouraged me to act on my feelings,” said Maybin. "Nevertheless, my most therapeutic accomplishment was to listen, really listen and hear what my patients had to say– even if it meant allowing them unload their stories one more time."
Sara Vandiver has a student-nursing job in the ER at Houston Northwest Hospital. During this natural disaster, they put hospital workers on lockdown so all staff was required to stay.
“I saw Hurricane Harvey from a very different perspective,” said Vandiver. “ I saw the flood waters rise on a television and it was scary because I could not leave and go help, I had to wait for the fallout, wait for the injured and the sick to come to me.”
Vandiver did not get to see her family. She did not know whether her house was flooded.
“I had to sign up for shower rotations, I had to sign up for a cot,” said Vandiver. “I basically did a sleep-work cycle. All employees did a 12-hour shift of work, took a shower at the hospital, went to bed at the hospital, and then woke up and went go back to work. It was completely exhausting, but I got to apply everything I have learned over two semesters of nursing at LSC-Montgomery. I saw so many people who were in distress and needed help. I am just getting my feet wet in my role as a nurse and getting to see this job up close, I realized it is bigger than me and it is a calling.”
Closer to home, Nursing Lab Coordinator, Manuela Sandoval’s house was flooding during Hurricane Harvey. Several students helped with demolition and cleanup at her house.
“It was harder to help one of our own, because it is even more heartbreaking,” said Evangeline Caratao.
Caratao is also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She continues to work with Morman Helping Hands cleaning up houses.
“There are still a lot of people in Beamont and Huffman that have not done anything to their houses,” said Caratao. “I learned a lot from the people who got flooded. They were in a difficult situation and they remained strong and they were not afraid to ask for help.”
Lone Star College offers high-quality, low-cost academic transfer and career training education to 95,000 students each semester. LSC is training tomorrow’s workforce today and redefining the community college experience to support student success. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., serves as chancellor of LSC, the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area with an annual economic impact of $3.1 billion. LSC consists of six colleges, eight centers, two university centers, Lone Star Corporate College and LSC-Online. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.