Since the 1990s, I used the nursing process (assessing, diagnosing, planning, implementing, and evaluating) plus a healthy dose of human resiliency in healthcare leadership and my personal life. Little did I know that this training would benefit me when I least expected it. In September 2018, Hurricane Florence made landfall on the coast of North Carolina and with it permanently changed the residents’ lives. Homes were swept away and people feared how they would provide something as simple as the next meal for their families. My family was fortunate because our home only sustained minor structural damage; the only major damage was losing our dock. With hard work, determination and a disciplined process, the dock was transformed into something even better than it was in its previous state.
The nursing process started in the form of preparation. Before the storm hit, we boarded all windows and doors, turned off all utilities and prayed that no one would be injured as we drove away to ride out the storm in Virginia. The process continued as my wife, Angie, and I left to return to North Carolina and assess the damage. We loaded our utility trailer with fuel, building materials, food, water and shelter. By determining safe, accessible travel routes within 24 hours of the storm and leaving the area kept us safe. Constant reassessment of changing travel conditions kept us alert and ready. No planning in the world could have prepared us for the devastation that we would see. When we arrived at our home, we found the lower level destroyed, the main level exposed to the elements, debris as far as you could see, and only broken poles where our boat dock and pier had stood.
Hurricane Florence met the nursing process in North Carolina. Constant implementation of the process (assessing, diagnosing, planning, implementing and evaluating) ensured that the right steps were taken in a structured and manageable fashion. Florence Nightingale is widely known as the founder of modern nursing. Nightingale said “Rather, ten times die in the surf, heralding the way to a new world, than stand idly on the shore.” Over 110 years after her death, and throughout the Hurricane Florence recovery process, Florence Nightingale was a beacon of hope in my life.