Evaluating Nursing Staff Readiness For Handling Ebola

Ebola has been a historically deadly virus in regions of Africa. Recently, there have been cases of the virus in the United States. The current manifestation of the virus is especially dangerous, due to its long incubation period prior to symptoms appearing. The incubation period allows those who are infected to travel far from the site where they contracted the virus, without ever knowing that they were sick in the first place. This is part of the reason why the Ebola virus poses such a challenge for nursing staff readiness in the United States.

Due to the unique challenges posed by Ebola, American nurses need to be trained to identify potential carriers of the disease, as well as safety precautions that are necessary in handling those who have been infected. An elevated temperature is one of the first symptoms expressed in a contagious Ebola patient. However, this symptom is shared with an enumerable amount of other conditions. So one of the first things to do, in identifying if the Ebola virus is a possibility, is to find out whether the patient has traveled to regions where the outbreak has occurred within the last 21 days. The Ebola virus only spreads through direct contact with the fluids of a person who is both infected with the virus and currently contagious.

The CDC has established guidelines for the handling of Ebola patients by American hospitals. These guidelines are diseased to minimize the risk of spreading the virus to other people. However, they are not fool proof, as evidenced by the fact that multiple healthcare workers have contracted the virus in the United States, while dealing with Ebola patients. This further illustrates the level of precaution and preparedness that is needed to adequately address the virus, and to minimize its potential to spread.

The ability of nursing staff readiness to help immediately identify and isolate patients who are infected with the Ebola virus is perhaps the most important role they can perform in fighting the spread of the disease. However, nurses will also be called upon to help treat those who are already known to be infected.

Calmness, Stoicism and Kindness: Keys to Nursing

“Apprehension, uncertainty, waiting, expectation, fear of surprise, do a patient more harm than any exertion.” Florence Nightingale

Mad Nurse Ratched gave nurses a bad name. “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest“, the movie and the Ken Kesey novel, presented nurses in a harsh light. Louise Fletcher won an Academy Award for Best Actress playing the battle ax nurse. Eventually most everyone needs a nurse, and thankfully nurses fall far from the Nurse Ratched category.

Calmness and Kindness: The soft keys to nursing

Calmness is key to being a nurse. Nurses deal with patients in a state of decline, emergency or illness. Patients, and their families, are often angry, sad, confused and filled with fear. A nurse needs to be the calm at the center of patient, and their family’s, storm.

Kindness is key in dealing with the stressful kinds of storms nurses find themselves immersed in. Kindness costs nothing, and plenty of patients and their families, forget kindness in stressful situations and lash out. Patients families confusion and anger can be wrongly directed at the staff. Calmness and kindness are, again, tho of the keys to nursing. Calmness and kindness will deflect those situations and provide positivity in the worst of situations. Expecting the worst but countering it with calmness and kindness is a key nurse ingredient.

Stoicism: The final of the keys to nursing

A nurse must be stoic and have a strong stomach. Nurse’s eyes see sad things daily. Nurse’s eyes see patients in all forms of decline and with all forms of physical and mental issues. Patients roll in and roll out. Stoicism is necessary in a field in which patients often pass away and are instantly replaced with new patients teetering on the edge of death also. The stress filled patient wheel keeps on turning and so must nurses.

According to Think CNA Online the aging of the Baby Boomer Generation will be a boon for employment in the nursing industry. Nurses, both old and new, must be equipped with a healthy mixture of calmness, kindness, stoicism and the ability to do tasks few are fit to do. Someone once said nurses are angels in comfortable shoes. But those shoes can be filled with stress unless the wearers are prepared.

As a comic and as a nurse, it’s important to look calm on the surface when you’re absolutely crapping yourself inside. So, if someone is waving a machete at you, which has happened to me when I was a nurse, it’s important to make that person feel that you’re in control.
– Jo Brand