Our NursingCenter team has been following the Ebola outbreak closely over the past months, but with recent developments of disease transmission here in the United States, media coverage has increased and protocols and recommendations are being closely examined. As nurses, we play an important role in patient and public education, and it is important that we continue to act with compassion and skill while gathering our knowledge from reputable sources and keeping recent developments in perspective.
Nina and Amber
My thanks and best wishes for a quick recovery go out to Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, two nurses who contracted the Ebola virus while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the infected patient who died on Oct. 8, 2014. I commend your dedication and compassion. I am proud of you.
Nurses and other healthcare providers
To those of you caring for Nina and Amber, those already in or heading to West Africa to help with the outbreak there, and those studying current guidelines and possible systems issues, thank you. I am confident that your hard work will make a difference here and abroad, and that best practices for the safety of patients, healthcare providers, and the public is the priority.
As a nurse, I will continue to look to professional organizations for the latest information and guidance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a long list of guidelines and checklists for U.S. health professionals. The Global Alert and Response of the World Health Organization includes up-to-date news and facts, frequently asked questions, and preparedness guidance. The National Institutes of Health also lists facts about the virus as well as the latest developments of research on prevention, treatment, and detection.
I encourage you all to stay up-to-date and share your knowledge with your patients and the public. Refer to the sites above or to our Ebola page on NursingCenter (which we update daily with information from the above sites). Our colleagues at the American Journal of Nursing have also shared valuable insights from a nurse epidemiologist, who addresses the concerns surrounding personal protective equipment, and a nurse informaticist, who looks at the role of electronic health records in handling the Ebola outbreak.
I had the pleasure of spending the past week at Nursing Management Congress and was in the company of over 800 nurse leaders from around the country as the news of Ebola virus transmission in the U.S. unfolded. Themes from the general sessions included a focus on restoring pride in nursing, believing in team members, and dealing with root causes instead of putting out fires. I think these themes are appropriate as we face this new challenge in healthcare.