The students of Lassen College’s nursing program are ready to help whenever disaster strikes and are willing to give their all. Photo submitted

Nursing students show compassion to Camp Fire evacuees

Lassen Community College nursing students showed just how dedicated, compassionate and ready they are when disaster strikes.

LCC’s director of nursing Christi Myers shared with the district’s board of trustees and the public, the kind of gusto and hearts her nursing students have at the Dec. 11 meeting.

Myers recounted the efforts of her students during last year’s meningitis outbreak and their rounds during the Camp Fire last month.

Thirteen brave students helped with the response efforts to the Camp Fire, working at three of the area’s shelters, one in Chico, another in Oroville and later in Gridley. They were able to provide assistance at the shelters Nov. 13 as well as the weekend following Thanksgiving.

Not only were Myers’ students able to provide emergency prescriptions and administer medical assistance to victims of the fire, students and the college filled needs not originally addressed, such as a lack of bedpans on-site.

Myers detailed an outbreak of norovirus in the shelters during their stay, but noted her students learned much on the subject.

Myers proudly boasted the work of her students to the group saying, “We showed up and there was another nursing school at the Chico shelter and the nurses from that RN school stood with their clipboards and took notes and kind of stood there. And ours jumped in.”

Myers continued to describe their work saying, “They got people in the shower, they changed bedpans” and did what needed to be done running circles around the other students.

Each survivor was processed through a medical screening, all performed in confidence by the LCC nursing students. Another addition to the team was the newly deployed National Guard that the students worked with seamlessly and learned from along the way.

Not only did the students fulfill the needs they were trained to do, they paid attention to the unfulfilled and unaddressed needs of those in the shelter, going above and beyond for the victims.

One student, who Myers said was a hairdresser in a past life, donated time by giving 15 haircuts to some of those in the shelter. Nursing students were also able to provide another unaddressed need for the evacuees at the shelter, pillowcases.

In Myers’s write-up of the events, she wrote, “Survivors were given Red Cross issued blankets and an individual pillow to lay upon their army style issued cots,” and as the students returned home and recounted their time at the shelter, they reached out to Laura Roberts the owner of our local quilt shop, Country Pines Quilts, who had been working to create quilts for those who lost so much in the Camp Fire. Upon reaching out to Roberts, they asked if anyone was willing to make pillowcases for the evacuees.

Myers said the response was overwhelming. Roberts and her fellow quilters for many years supporting an organization called “Ryan’s Case for Smiles” serving as a drop spot and active participant in the Northern Nevada chapter. The organization’s focus is to provide comfort and support through providing pillowcases and resources to children suffering from illness in local hospitals.

Myers wrote, “The Paradise evacuees had been given pillows but no pillow cases, they had laid their smoke ridden hair on the same pillow for the past week in an unfamiliar place as they slept beside strangers. Pillowcases were not high on the priority list and definitely were not showing up by the truckload. As soon as Laura Roberts was made aware of the unusual need she sent a call out to her fellow partners at “Ryan’s Case for Smiles,” within days handmade pillowcases began to pour in from far and wide.

Beyond the immediate response from her local quilters, pillowcases were carefully sewn, washed, packaged and sent from places as close as Lassen and Plumas counties and from individuals in the Northern Nevada chapter to places as far as Petaluma, Maine, Spokane and Boston. Totaling nearly 500 handmade pillowcases in just over a weeks’ time.”

Myers, proud of her students accomplishments throughout the disaster response, wrote her thanks and praise to the students, “Moments of response and giving without question have proven to us that you are all not only great students and nurses but that you are kind, compassionate, humble people who we would be proud to have care for our loved ones. Compassion and humility stem from moments that we fear the most, our student have been graced with opportunities to elevate these traits in themselves through their service and for that we are grateful.”