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Pine Bluff hospital employees push through power outages

Many places have been impacted by power outages, including a hospital in Pine Bluff— causing some staff to have to use spare patient rooms for overnight stays.

PINE BLUFF, Ark. — On Thursday, power outages impacted homes and hospitals across the state.

THV11 was inside Jefferson Regional when the halls went dark for a few moments— but thanks to backup generators, the hospital was fully operational.

However, because of the severity of the winter weather, some staff had to use empty patient rooms for overnight stays.

"The last three days have been extremely challenging," said Michelle Powell, Chief Nursing Officer.

It's nothing that she and the staff at the hospital weren't prepared for.

"We actually started looking ahead last week," Powell added.

The hospital was only one of the hundreds of places impacted by statewide power outages on Thursday.

While electricity was restored in the building almost instantly, Powell said it did disrupt the breakfast rush for employees.

The cafeteria was closed for much of the morning as a result.

"The food was able to be cooked, [but] it's not able to stay in warmers," Powell explained.

The lingering ice, of course, was the culprit behind these disruptions. 

Hospital leaders said that about 50 employees were forced to stay overnight at the hospital.

The hospital turned an unused wing into a place for nurses like Marie Morrison to sleep. 

"I knew that I would probably need to spend the night since I have about an hour's commute," Morrison said.

Morrison added that she didn't want to be too far from her patients during the winter weather.

"I realized that my role as a nurse is to provide care," Morrison described.

Powell said it's that kind of tenacity that is seen all over the hospital.

"They don't call in quickly, they're quick to call and say can I get a ride," Powell said.

The transport and security team provided transportation to those who wanted to work but didn't want to deal with the roads.

Powell added that she's grateful to have a team of dedicated employees who didn't let the winter storm stop them from caring for patients.

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