Virtual Care Doesn’t Stop, Even During Hurricane Ian – How These Banyan Nurse Heroes Navigated Patient Care During Uncertain Times


Hurricane Ian has shaken up the Southeast part of the United States, affecting the lives of families and their homes all throughout the state of Florida, including some of our own Florida partners, as well as our Banyan family members. Here’s their story and how they navigated patient care during Hurricane Ian.

“I was just getting off from one of my shifts on Sunday, and originally, I was told we would be leaving at 8:00 ET on Monday night…. that ended up being changed to 7:00 Sunday night! So, I ran home, and I didn’t have any of my scrubs. I told my boyfriend, ‘Hey, I need you to throw in the laundry like now because I’m going to Omaha, Nebraska, for the next week.’”

“Heck, I was at a wedding in Georgia when I got the call.”

It was a “where were you when…” type of moment for these incredible team members out of our Tampa office, who joined the recently opened Tampa Virtual Nursing hub earlier this year. The Tampa teams have been hard at work providing virtual care and growing fast with nearly one hundred virtual nurses on site since inception. They assist with 24/7 virtual nursing coverage with tasks such as admissions, education, rounding, and discharge in several of our hospitals in Florida and across the nation.

However, when Hurricane Ian posed a threat towards the new facility and its team members, some made the move to Omaha, leaving their families behind.

“I left knowing you know; I might not have a home to come back to. My husband told me he was going to stay home… as much as I tried to get him to come with me, he decided to stay,” says Lisa Riefesel.

From Sunday well into Monday, the team received travel arrangements to ensure that they were able to make it safely, traveling nearly 3,000 miles round-trip from Tampa to our Omaha, NE, nursing center. “I just felt it was the right thing to do, and I wanted to make sure our team had help. I would not have done it if I absolutely did not love this company.”

The Pride of Banyan

These team members’ commitment to providing virtual care during a hurricane exemplifies our vision of world-class care, no matter the circumstances. On the brink of natural disaster knowing their families and homes were at risk, they remained dedicated to their patients and team members. Even during the most challenging circumstances, our virtual nurses take the meaning of care to a whole new level. In providing virtual care to several hospitals in Florida, it was critical to ensure that patients were cared for, even if that meant virtually. The lack of resources and the strain of uncertainty left several of our partners in need of support in any way possible. These Tampa team members went above and beyond, showing courage to transform the delivery of care when it matters most – demonstrating our core values:

  • People: Supporting clients and their patients with people inspired by care
  • Reliability: Honoring a tradition of reliability with no excuses
  • Innovation: Delivering world-class, innovative healthcare solutions
  • Dedication: Committed to client success and service by any means necessary
  • Excellence: Providing technical and professional excellence in all we do

“The outstanding work of these Banyan team members best shows our commitment to patients and their teams. They have represented what we are about and our core values so well, aligning with our mission of provider excellence and world-class care,” says Tony Buda, founder and CEO.

In support of those team members who did not make the trip, the Tampa office received a fleet of supplies and resources in preparation for Hurricane Ian. When the team of ten finally touched down in Omaha, they were welcomed with gratitude and appreciation for their efforts and willingness to continue to provide virtual care, even during these uncertain times.

After living a surreal past several days, which did include a trip to the world-renowned Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo, the team returned safely to their homes and our Tampa Virtual Nursing hub earlier this week.

(Banyan’s Nurse heroes from left to right: Jennifer Bien-Aime, Jessica Caswell, Taylor Ascone, Jamie Owen, Alexander Gomez, Lisa Rifesel, Ryan Telner)

Learn More

Looking to join this team of heroes? We currently have opportunities available to become a part of our Virtual Nursing team in both our Tampa and Omaha offices. Join the future of healthcare, today.