GWU Family Nurse Practitioner Alumna Serves Community Affected by Hurricane Florence

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Beth Brock ’16 Deploys With Mobile Hospital to Burgaw, N.C.

Beth Brock, left, poses with three other medical professionals at a mobile hospital that deployed to help a community after Hurricane Florence.
After Hurricane Florence, Beth Brock, left, a 2016 alumna of the GWU Family Nurse Practitioner Program, deployed with the MED-1 Mobile Hospital from Atrium Health in Charlotte, N.C., to Pender County, N.C.

Hurricane Florence battered North Carolina’s coastal areas in September with 90-mph winds, rainfall and storm surge. Record flooding in Pender County forced officials to close the local hospital and its emergency department. However, three days after the powerful storm made landfall, the MED-1 Mobile Hospital from Atrium Health in Charlotte, N.C., was operating in a parking lot in Burgaw, N.C.

Gardner-Webb University 2016 alumna, Beth Brock, was among the medical professionals who volunteered for the assignment. “I’m so honored and thankful I was chosen to go,” reflected Brock, a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from Atrium Health’s Lincoln Family Practice in Lincolnton, N.C. “As soon as I heard we may be deploying, I felt a strong desire to help the victims who would be affected by this natural disaster.”

Once on location, MED-1 is fully operational in 30 minutes with a team of more than 30 emergency room doctors, nurses and other medical staff. The 1,000-square-foot hospital is capable of handling anything from minor injuries to severe emergency medical conditions, including trauma surgery and intensive medical care. For patients in Burgaw, it was the only medical facility in a 50-mile radius.

Caring for between 150 and 200 patients a day, the team delivered babies, performed surgeries and provided other services. Brock worked in triage. “I saw patients of all ages including newborns,” she described. “I performed simple sick visits, newborn checks and routine chronic disease management.”

Although she stayed in a truck trailer and slept on a cot, she was grateful for the team she worked with to serve the community. “This was my first deployment for MED-1,” Brock noted. “Everyone had one goal to accomplish and everyone did everything in their scope to achieve this goal together.”

Med-1 Hospital in Burgaw, NC
The MED-1 Hospital was set up in a parking lot in Burgaw, N.C.

Brock became a nurse because of her compassion for others. After working eight years in an emergency department, she decided to pursue her Master of Science in Nursing with FNP concentration. “I chose FNP, because I wanted to prevent patients from overflowing the emergency departments with problems that could be addressed by their primary care providers,” she asserted. “Gardner-Webb’s nursing school prepared me for my career by teaching me the fundamentals of being a Family Nurse Practitioner.”

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