When Birmingham-based M-POWER Ministries put out the call for volunteers from the health care sector to staff one of the faith-based organization’s health clinics in the tornado-ravaged Pratt City neighborhood, UAB School of Nursing faculty answered.
Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Partnerships Cynthia Selleck, D.S.N., and Assistant Professor Summer Langston, D.N.P., helped organize many of the school’s certified registered nurse practitioners to staff the clinic at the Pratt City Disaster Relief Center.
“We’re nurses, by virtue this is what we do -- we help people – but the inspiration for this project actually came from our students,” Langston says. “Our student organization has a disaster relief chair and after the tornadoes they wanted to know what they could do to help those affected, and immediately began collecting goods for those in need. They took the original initiative and it just snowballed from there.”
Langston said some of the most common things the school’s faculty nurse practitioners at the free medical clinic have seen are people with chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes.
“These are people who have lost their medications during the storm and just need follow-up care and replacement of those medications,” she says. “In addition, we’ve seen some acute things like stepping on nails and other injuries which are associated with storm cleanup.”
Langston says the outpouring from volunteers and the needs of the people in the area are both incredible.
“I don’t think I was prepared for what I was going to see,” she says. “Until you come and see things first hand and see the people who were affected, there really are no words to describe it.”