Texas seeking volunteer help from medical professionals amid COVID-19 pandemic

Nurse who worked on New York front lines in answers call to aid in Texas

San Antonio nurse who fought on front lines in New York to aid Texas' COVID-19 fight

SAN ANTONIO – As hospitalizations continue to rise, there is concern Texas hospitals will need more help.

The state is asking medical professionals to sign up to become volunteers in the event they need help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If the COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to increase like they are, there is a concern that we will need to put some crisis staffing plans in place, which means we will need additional help across our hospitals and potentially in alternative care settings as well,” said Serena Bumpus, Director of Practice for the Texas Nurses Association.

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Bumpus said she signed up in March to volunteer in Williamson County and Travis County.

The state has been promoting the Texas Disaster Volunteer Registry.

“Anybody that is in the healthcare field and would like to put their name in there in the event that we need to start drawing on volunteers on additional efforts, this is the time to do that,” said Dr. John Zerwas, executive vice chancellor for the University of Texas System’s Office of Health Affairs.

Bumpus said there are several factors to consider on when Texas officials could start to call on these volunteers.

“When the hospital capacity reaches an 80 to 85% marker, that might be the time for us to say we need to, we need to look at staffing, we need to look at alternative care sites to help offload some of that volume inside our facility, so they can continue to take care of any patient that needs to walk through the door,” Bumpus said.

Bumpus said there are many different job opportunities when you sign up.

There are positions in hospitals, long term care facilities, alternative care sites and even performing COVID-19 tests at testing sites.

Nurse Shirley SaintLouis was fighting on the frontlines of COVID-19 in New York for 75 days and is now in Houston. She is looking into signing up to volunteer.

“I feel like as a nurse I took an oath to help people, to care for people that are ill,” SaintLouis said.

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About the Authors:

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.