Learn more about how HCA Healthcare employees across the country are living out the HCA mission in response to these events and how they are relying on preparedness, emergency response and recovery response tactics to exhibit that above all else we are committed to the care and improvement of human life.
The commitment and dedication displayed before, during and after hurricanes Harvey and Irma rings true in every story shared. We are thankful that so many have been generous with their experiences, and we are honored to be able to share those experiences with you.
After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, HCA Healthcare reached out to employees from coast to coast with a call for volunteers. In Wichita, Kansas, more than 100 people from Wesley Medical Center offered to assist in relief and recovery efforts and six nurses were chosen. Jared Hunsaker, an assistant nurse manager at Wesley Medical Center, was one of them.
“I received a call and was told they were ready for me to come to Houston and wanted to know when I could board a plane,” Hunsaker said. “I told them ‘anytime,’ and they booked a flight that afternoon.”
Hunsaker shared his experiences in a mini-blog titled “#thewesleysix” to keep his fellow coworkers at Wesley Medical Center up-to-date with their progress and the situation in Houston. The blog gained so much attention that even the local paper started following it. His stories and takeaways from his volunteer experience are inspiring reminders of HCA’s ever-present support and care, even during the most trying of times.
Hunsaker’s volunteer journey started on August 31, only six days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Houston and the surrounding communities. The volunteers arrived at Conroe Regional Medical Center, where they were welcomed with open arms and a poster that read, “Nurses Save the World.” From there, the volunteers – including The Wesley Six – were divided and sent to various hospitals in need of nurses. Hunsaker was sent to Tomball Regional Medical Center in Tomball, Texas, where he would serve as charge nurse.
“Upon our arrival at Tomball, the nursing leadership greeted us, and the chief nursing officer (CNO) gave me one of the biggest hugs I’ve ever received from a stranger,” Hunsaker said. “It really did feel as if I had walked from one HCA family into the arms of another HCA family.”
“It was a privilege to meet them and an honor to know that these kinds of nurses are HCA peers,” Sharon Ikeler, Tomball Regional Medical Center’s CNO, said of the volunteers. “As a new acquisition hospital, we stood in awe of the strength of HCA and the many resources they provided us in our time of need.”
The HCA family unit only strengthened during Hunsaker’s time at Tomball Regional Medical Center. On day three, he was preparing for his first night shift when Ikeler told the group she was going to take them to a local store and pay for any items they needed. “When you pack and depart so quickly, you would be amazed at what you forget,” Hunsaker said. “She said it was just a small way to show her gratitude to us.”
“When the HCA volunteer nurses arrived, it was overwhelming. We met their charter bus as it pulled in, and I looked back at our nurses and managers who were there, and they all had tears in their eyes,” Ikeler said. “We were so appreciative of their commitment and time … what a true selfless act to head to a disaster zone and leave their families behind just to help sister facilities in need.”
Hunsaker reflects on his time at Tomball as an “inspirational experience,” as he realized the incredible bond nurses share in caring for and serving their communities.
“I was filled with so much emotion hearing about the challenges Tomball staff and the Houston community had to overcome and endure,” he said. “Knowing that we were able to provide positive impact brings me so much pride as a growing leader in HCA and my Wesley family.”
Jared pictured with Tomball Regional Medical Center nurses.