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The Tuscaloosa tornado: a nurse's story

After a deadly tornado struck Tuscaloosa, Ala., in April, faculty and students from Capstone College of Nursing at UA came to residents’ aid by pulling them from the rubble and triaging hospital patients from the surrounding area. The new building that houses the nursing school was undamaged. Photo: The Tuscaloosa News

As a leader in nursing education, Sara Barger 73MN has weathered her share of professional storms. But like other residents in Tuscaloosa, Ala., she is still coming to terms with the April tornadoes that leveled part of the town and killed more than 200 people statewide.

None of the faculty, students, and staff at the University of Alabama (UA) Capstone College of Nursing, where Barger serves as dean, were injured. And while some faculty and students lost their homes, many stepped up to help.

Right after the twister struck, a Capstone faculty member and several nursing students arrived at the emergency room at the DCH Regional Medical Center to triage patients from Tuscaloosa and the surrounding area. “No one called them,” says Barger. “They just came. Other faculty pulled people out of buildings that collapsed on top of them. Everyone responded immediately.”

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