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Crisis Alert: Americares Responds to Hurricane Ida

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Shirley Roberts

  • August 13, 2021

I’m Shirley Roberts, and I’m the clinic nurse manager that actually runs the Grace Community Clinic in Grapevine, Texas.

The clients that we take care of are all low-income, and they’re all uninsured.

We’ve gone through a lot of things in the last two years — number one COVID which, all of us have gone through that, but then we had the big freeze. We never have a freeze, hardly ever in Texas. And so, in February, we had this freeze that shut us down again for a week, and pipes were breaking and all kinds of things were happening. So, this is an added stress. So, It’s been quite interesting.

But we’re serving a population that’s out in the community, serving us every day. And so this is a great opportunity for us to serve them. And that’s the way I like to look at what we do here. And because they’re out there always serving us in some capacity, but they’ve gone through a lot of stress, and we have to be attuned to their stress, but also to our stress and what that did to us.  

We did the one [mental health training] about sleep deprivation. That was excellent, because that was like: We’re not getting enough sleep. And I know I wasn’t, and, and everybody was feeling that way, but they weren’t verbally talking about it. So that was a really important thing. And the things we can do to help get more rest, that was — I love that one. That was my favorite.

We talked a lot about self-care that we don’t talk about, but now we’re talking about, so I think your class has definitely helped us realize how important [it is], even though we, as medical people know, we still think we are beyond that. I think I’m beyond it  –  that I can get by with, I can stay up late and I can get up early, but we’ve had to realize that we got to get that sleep.

You know, we hit COVID and we were going to be here. We were determined. We were going to be here. We were going to serve our clients. We run to make sure they still get their medicines, their prescriptions, their insulin, we were going to do this, and we could do it.

I think that we have to recognize each other and where [we] are. And I think that we have to be attuned to that and respect that. And some of our employees — one of our social workers lost her mother to COVID and that’s a hard thing. And, as a nurse — I was in the ER nurse forever — being attuned to that, and what do you say to that employee? Just being respectful. And she ended up getting COVID. She was taking care of her mother and working out of her home, and then she got COVID too. But she lost her mother, and that’s hard. That’s hard. I think it just, it’s all right to allow that time to grieve. It’s all right.

I love Americares. And I love everything they were doing — the self-care packet and we’ve spread it out. All of the classes we took — I said, this is going to be stuff that I’m going to use down the road, I could just do this all the time. I love it. I love it.

Shirley Roberts
Clinic Nurse Manager
Grace Community Clinic
Grapevine, Texas