Heading to Joplin to Help
Tara Kline, LPN, has worked at Via Christi Village in Pittsburg since 2003. She offers her first-hand account as one of six nurses who traveled from Via Christi Village in Pittsburg to Joplin to help the night of the tornado.
I was at home on Sunday eve when the tornado hit Joplin, Missouri. I then got a phone call from Charity Burchett, another nurse from work, and she told me she was going to Joplin to help. I saw across the television that nurses and medical personnel were needed, so I texted Dana, our director of nursing, and asked if she would be going. When she responded that she was going, I asked her to come and pick me up to go as well.
I came to Via Christi Village with nurses Dana Hawkins and Kim Seybold and we gathered supplies to take with us ... hand sanitizer, boxes of gloves and medical supplies. We drove to Joplin and went to Memorial Hall where we were directed to take our supplies.
The number of people that we saw outside the building, some with visible injuries and some without, did not even compare to the number of people we saw inside the building being treated by nurses. We delivered our supplies and were then told to go to McAuley High School.
There, we followed the path of people to an area that had long tables set up with different people at each one treating the injured people. I saw a lot of medical staff that I knew from co-workers, to student nurses from different schools, to hospice staff, to physicians from the surrounding area - working together to help all who entered.
We were there only a short time when we received a phone call to return to Pittsburg because Via Christi Hospital would be expecting patients from the tornado and they needed to admit residents to our facility to make room at the hospital. We returned to Via Christi Village at approximately 12:30 a.m. and found CNA/CMA staff that we had called in to help waiting at the front door for instruction.
That night we admitted four residents from the hospital, and I couldn't have been more proud of our staff working together so well to get the job done. As the residents were admitted the extra staff were thanked and went home. The nurses and I worked until almost 8:30 the next morning before leaving to go home.
I have never seen anything like what I experienced in Joplin that night and can only hope to expect to see people working together like they did, if something like this were to happen again.