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PHE Home > ASPR Blog > Posts > Dedication and Deployment: A Couple Chooses to Serve with NDMS

 

October 26
Dedication and Deployment: A Couple Chooses to Serve with NDMS

Ever since we were fifteen, Don and I have loved to do things together. We even deploy together with the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS).

Susan and Don Wyatt 

This time, we deployed to Comerío, Puerto Rico, where I helped set up and staff the pharmacy and served as a nurse. The community was truly devastated by the storms. Most of the medical facilities were concentrated in one part of town. When that area flooded, it wiped out most of the town’s healthcare resources. Comerío has been completely cut off from grid power – any power that we have here comes from generators.

When I’m deployed, I get to connect with my patients on a very deep level and I get to stretch my limits. I give a part of myself to these patients and I get to do the hard stuff. I’ve worked as a nurse for a long time and I’m proud to be good at my job, but it is rarely really challenging. When I deploy, I take on tough challenges and see the rewards in the faces of the people that I help.

I also love being able to connect with patients and helping them become healthy enough to face the challenges that lie ahead. I don’t just want to give them a pill or quickly stop the bleeding. I want to help heal the patient.

I am honored to be able to touch people during some of the most vulnerable times in their lives. My patients back home in Modesto, California, have their own homes to go back to and a few area hospitals to choose from. Many here in Puerto Rico don’t. I get a chance to help not only our patients, but also their families who are worried and scared. It is an amazing experience.

Service is a wonderful thing to share. My husband and I deploy together, so he gets it. He understands how elated I feel when I’ve helped heal one of my patients. He knows how hard it is to deploy to a place that is devastated and how rewarding it is to help take away some of that pain. NDMS is both a really special part of my life and a very important part of our marriage.

Deploying together has some practical benefits too. When you are deployed, you usually work long days, and it can be hard to call home. When you deploy together, you get to see each other and reconnect.

Of course, you don’t have to be married and deploy together to be called to serve with NDMS. You don’t even need to be a medical professional. Medical professionals don’t work in a vacuum. They need temporary medical facilities with electricity and communications; people to handle logistics; and much, much more. It takes many different kinds of expertise to protect health and save lives in a disaster.

There are many different ways to serve with NDMS. If you think that you are up for the challenge, take some time to learn more. Visit www.PHE.gov/NDMS.

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