Providers with UR School of Nursing Ties Join Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Efforts

More than a month after Hurricane Maria demolished Puerto Rico, the island’s residents are slowly regaining access to necessities such as power and clean water. A team of providers from the University of Rochester Medical Center also made sure that they had access to the medical care and human touch they needed.

Puerto Rico press conference

School of Nursing alumni Aida Santiago ’08N, ‘14N (MS) (second from right) and Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing Luis Rosario-McCabe ‘93N, ’95N (MS), ’17N (DNP) (center) share their experiences with the media after spending two weeks in Puerto Rico providing patient care to residents of the island affected by Hurricane Maria.

 

Three current and former UR School of Nursing students were among the team of 11 URMC health care professionals who volunteered for the two-week humanitarian mission. School of Nursing alumni Aida Santiago ’08N, ’14N (MS), a nurse practitioner in the UR Department of Neurology, and Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing Luis Rosario-McCabe ‘93N, ’95N (MS), ’17N (DNP), as well as Chelsea Davis, an RN at Highland Hospital and current student in the UR School of Nursing’s RN-to-BS program, were deployed on Oct. 24 and returned to Rochester on Nov. 8 as part of a 78-member group of providers organized by the Healthcare Association of New York State.

Working 12-hour shifts, the URMC team of seven registered nurses, two nurse practitioners, one licensed practical nurse, and one physician saw 150 patients per day over the course of their stay on the island. Without access to key supplies and equipment and occasionally losing power supplies, they often had to improvise solutions and methods to help patients get much-needed care.

Though they provided a critical service for the residents of Puerto Rico, the experience also had a lasting effect on the providers whose lives were touched by the people they served.

“My heart grew ten times in the time I was there,” said Rosario-McCabe.

“I knew about humility in Puerto Ricans. I'm Puerto Rican and I grew up in Puerto Rico,” Santiago said. “But to see it so raw in the face of adversity will always stay with me.”

For more on the experiences of the URMC team in Puerto Rico check out these news stories: