NewsInspiring South Florida


Palm Beach County nurse answers call to action to respond to Indian coronavirus crisis

'I want to help somebody,' Jennifer Puckett says
Posted at 7:20 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 19:20:32-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — South Florida native Jennifer Puckett had clear dreams growing up.

"I always wanted to be a nurse," she said.

One could even say nursing is in her blood.

"I grew up with [Good Samaritan Medical Center], like, when my mom worked there, I was a kid going to work with her on the weekends," Puckett explained.

Puckett is now a critical care certified registered nurse of eight years, specializing in pediatric and neonatal internal care unit cases.

She regularly travels the country as a crisis response nurse, most recently to treat COVID-19 patients in Houston.

"I have a special set of skills and if I have this special set of skills, I need to do something with it," Puckett said. "I can't just standby and watch everybody."

She got home just over a week ago and it didn't take long for her to notice her services, and others like her, were needed on the other side of the globe in India to help a population overrun by the coronavirus.

"Seeing these doctors overseas crying," Puckett said, was enough catch her attention. "Because their, like, kids shouldn't be doing this. They shouldn't be losing their lives."

She and more than 40 other first responders across the country have been in talks with the Indian Parliament, securing clearance to fly in and administer care and relief with the newly formed nonprofit organization, American Nurses on a Mission.

"My biggest thing is, I want to help somebody," Puckett said. "If we can go over there and we save 15 people [who] might not have gotten that, that's 15 more people that beat this, and I'm hoping that's what's going to happen, that we can save as many people as possible."

Those closer to home who can't be boots on the ground, like Clinics Can Help CEO Owen O'Neill, are sending help in different ways. Seeing people in India struggling to simply breathe was enough for him to organize a delivery of respiratory supplies to send over.

O'Neill said after seeing the severity of pandemic in India, he knew had to help.

"The amount of loss of life, I don't know how to describe it -- heartbreaking, devastating," he said. "It's beyond that. You just want to help any way you can."

They're precious supplies for those whose life depends on it. If all goes well, Puckett and her team hope to head to India the first week of June. For her and those on the front line hoping to save lives, it's the right place at the right time.

"There's a reason we are put here," she said. "There's a reason we're doing whatever we do, and every time there's a door that opens, there's a reason that that's opening."

It's an open door and a call to serve.

If you'd like to contribute to Jennifer's cause, visit this link.