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NY Nurses Stayed With Critical Care Patients During Hurricane Irene

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media, September 13, 2011

The nurses worked to keep patients and their families informed and Rowinski made rounds to explain what would happen. As the hurricane neared, the staff made preparations in case they were cut off. They collected three days worth of medications for each patient and stocked each room with items such as flashlights and ambu bags.

Mass transit was due to be suspended at noon on Saturday and so nurses brought bags of personal items and prepared to stay at the hospital for an extended period of time.

"On Saturday morning, I had full complement of nurses," says Rowinski. "My whole unit was staffed, everyone came in for their normal shift. I had people who came in 18 hours before their shift so they would be here."

Christine King is a senior staff nurse on the medical ICU who was originally scheduled to work the weekend. After the evacuation notice decreased the need for as many nurses, she was told she didn't need to come in. Instead, she volunteered to stay the entire weekend to care for the handful of patients in the ICU.

"It was important for me to be here because our patients deserve the same quality of care even when times are difficult," says King. "Throughout the weekend the team of nurses and staff reassured patients they would continue to be cared for and were very supportive of the patients and their families who stayed with them. It was a blessing to be here and I would do it all over again."

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