Hurricane Katrina: UT Tyler Students Lend a Helping Hand
August 31, 2005

Chomba Hansende, senior nursing student from Zambia, checks the temperature of a young child from New Orleans. Her father (holding her) said they left New Orleans at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning due to the rising water.

Approximately 30 of The University of Texas at Tyler College of Nursing students are volunteering their services at local Red Cross disaster relief shelters, Dr. Linda Klotz, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, announced.

Level 4 community health nursing students are working two per shift in the first aid stations at the First Christian Church in Tyler and the Maude Cobb Activity Center in Longview.

The experience allows them to not only help the hundreds of people displaced because of Hurricane Katrina but also to broaden their nursing skills.

“To me it epitomizes service learning. The experience also helps them develop empathy and caring. They’ll also see the benefit of volunteering and continuing community service even after they graduate,” said Dr. Danita Alfred, associate professor of nursing, who organized the student effort.

The students check blood pressures and temperatures and collect information to assist in pharmacy refills, according to Chomba Hansende, senior from Zambia.

“We also talk to them and try to comfort them,” she added.

Dr. Alfred was contacted by Kimberly Rigdon, a UT Tyler alum and a Red Cross designated nurse, who thought this would be a good opportunity for current students.

“It’s a good experience. You realize there’s much more, and it touches you. The people have different needs, and we’re trying our best to help,” said Lincy Philip, Dallas senior.

The students are currently scheduled to work until 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3.

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