VIDEO: Kaiser nurse loses everything in North Bay firestorm, keeps working


SANTA ROSA (KRON) — Although the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Santa Rosa remains closed since it was evacuated Sunday night, some of the nurses there have been transferred to other hospitals and continue to work during this disaster.

One nurse is still working through the disaster.

“It’s so much area and so many people have been displaced, and have faced tragedy,” nurse Julayne Smithson said. “That it’s almost unreal.”

But it is real–the damage, the disaster, and the pain.

KRON4 wouldn’t say Smithson is in good spirits. She’s just strong.

And she has to be. She has no choice.

Thursday is the first time she’s returned to what’s left of her home at the Journey’s End Mobile Home Park.

It’s just a block or two away from Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa where she works as a registered nurse.

On Sunday night, she was caring for sick patients in the intensive care unit.

“And then one of the nurses came up to me and put her arm around me and said, ‘Julayne, I’m sorry, but your home is not going to make it.’ And I looked at her and I thought, ‘What is she talking about?’ Because I just live right there. So, I went to the window, and I saw the complex there was engulfed.”

But Julayne kept working, caring for her patients and helping them evacuate.

She went back home briefly before it melted to grab her nursing documents, and then returned to the hospital where she finished up her shift.

“We were busy because our patients were very sick,” Smithson said.

Julayne moved in back in December as a renter.

And then, about three weeks ago, she bought the house.

It’s where she intended on settling down with her new husband who was supposed to move in from Indiana this week.

Those plans have now changed.

“And now my focus is on work and plans have changed a lot,” Smithson said. “And at this point, there’s not really thought on what the plan is for me. Because right now, we’re still working.”

Since Monday, Julayne has been working at Kaiser Hospital in San Rafael.

One of her managers has opened up their home to her while she rides this disaster out.

Friends have set up a fundraising page for Julayne on

She’s not asking for help but can certainly use it.

“I just can’t let myself think about it right now,” Smithson said. “I just need to keep working because that’s the priority.”

She’ll continue caring for others, and sometime down the road, re-focus on herself.

She is compelled by her strength that she hopes will ensure the journey’s end isn’t the end of her journey.



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