Lessons learned from Providence nurse who volunteered after Nepal quake

August 7, 2015 Providence Health Team

When Emily Scott arrived in Katmandu, Nepal, four days after the South Asian nation was struck by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake, she was surrounded by devastation. But it was what she couldn’t see that concerned her the most. Remote villages had been cut off by ruined roads, rubble and landslides. Many residents hadn’t been heard from in days following the April quake.

Scott, a nurse at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Wash., had deployed with Global Outreach Doctors and her mission was clear: Reach those villagers and provide medical care where needed.

In the spirit of Providence

“We created a mobile clinic,” Scott says. “Every day we would pack a 4x4 with tons of medical supplies and drive to distant areas that needed help.”

Far from home, the labor and delivery nurse was living out the spirit of Providence, caring for the poor and vulnerable with compassion and respect.

She tended to injuries, administered tetanus vaccines and provided antibiotics for those with infections.

Lessons for everyone

Scott has several takeaways from her work in Nepal that apply to all of us:

  • Everyone should have an emergency kit at home. It should include first-aid supplies, food, water and other items that could come in handy. See what the Red Cross recommends here.
  • Social media can be a lifeline in a disaster. Scott and her coworkers created a Facebook page to find out where their mobile clinic was needed. “Social media was huge,” she says. “You can use Facebook to let people know where you are and what you need. Maybe it’s a car or medical supplies. Someone has it, and everyone wants to help.”
  • Pitch in where you can in a disaster. “Regular, ordinary citizens can help in some way,” Scott says. “It may not be obvious at first, but extend yourself.” In Nepal, emergency workers ran out of the tarps that homeless survivors used to create makeshift shelters. “Women just lined up and started making them” Scott says. “We all have valuable skills that can be put to good use.”

A beautiful moment

The most memorable moment for Scott came when she cared for a pregnant woman. “I always carry my portable Doppler and she wanted to hear her baby’s heartbeat,” says Scott. “It was a really beautiful moment. Soon, pregnant women were coming from everywhere and lining up to hear their baby’s heartbeats.

“It was a powerful reminder that amid terrible tragedy — the loss of family members and homes — life goes on, we must all go on.”

Be prepared in case of an emergency with these essential items for your disaster preparedness survival kit.

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