A lifelong coastal resident, Regina Thompson has seen her share of hurricanes.
But the 22-year-old nurse at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital has never suffered damage at her home like the devastation she’s seeing in videos from Hawaii, where torrential rains from Hurricane Lane produced massive flooding.
“That’s devastating because they usually don’t get that kind of disaster,” she said. “It’s just a sad situation.”
Last week, Regina and others in the Tidelands Health RN internship program scribbled colorful well-wishes that are headed for Hilo Medical Center, which is in an area that has experienced flooding and mudslides from the more than three feet of rain Lane dumped on the island in just four days. The torrential rains closed several highways, and the floodwaters barreled into buildings and forced some residents to flee their homes.
Watching a video of the raging floodwaters in Hawaii, the RN interns not only felt compassion for their counterparts in Hawaii but also got a reminder that this could happen in the Tidelands region, too.
“We’ve experienced some of those same things,” Ashley Capps, associate vice president of nursing operations, told the group after watching the video. “Hurricanes are real, and they happen here. Our No. 1 commitment when it happens is to continue to provide care to our community.”
The aftermath of a storm – especially if it brings flooding like Hawaii is experiencing – can pose the biggest challenges, especially with employee partners navigating floods and closed roads just to make it to work.
As a new nurse, Thompson has never experienced the demands on health care workers during a storm. But she’ll be ready if one does come this way – the devastation in Hawaii has reminded her to be prepared.
“I just know it’s important that we be here,” she said. “If anything does happen, we just have to work as a team.”
After historic flooding in Horry and Georgetown counties in 2015, some Tidelands Health team members used kayaks to get from their homes to vehicles parked on higher ground and used boats to check on patients at home who were surrounded by water but might need medications or other health-care related help.