National survey of nurses shows heightened Ebola concerns - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

National survey of nurses shows heightened Ebola concerns

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Nurses show anti-contamination clothing. AP photo Nurses show anti-contamination clothing. AP photo
BY ELIZABETH CHUCK, NBC News

(NBC News) - Three out of four nurses say their hospital hasn't provided sufficient education for them on Ebola, according to a survey by the largest professional association of registered nurses in the United States.

National Nurses United has been surveying health care workers across the U.S. as the Ebola outbreak has widened globally. After a Texas nurse who cared for the first patient diagnosed with the Ebola in the U.S. tested positive for the virus Sunday, the group released its latest survey findings.

Out of more than 1,900 nurses in 46 states and Washington D.C. who responded, 76% said their hospital still hadn't communicated to them an official policy on admitting potential patients with Ebola. And a whopping 85% said their hospital hadn't provided educational training sessions on Ebola in which nurses could interact and ask questions.

“Reports of the infection of a nurse at the same hospital where the first U.S. patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, died in Dallas only heightens the concerns for registered nurses and other frontline hospital personnel who would be among the first to respond and interact with other patients about whether their hospital is doing enough to protect health workers as well as patients and the general public,” National Nurses United Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro said in a statement Sunday.

The survey also found that 37% of nurses felt their hospital had insufficient supplies for containing the deadly virus, including face shields and goggles or fluid-resistant gowns.

Duncan, a Liberian national, initially came to Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas on Sept. 25 with a fever of 103 degrees and abdominal pain. For reasons not entirely clear, staff sent him home. Two days later, he returned to the hospital in an ambulance after his nephew called the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expressing concern. Duncan died last Wednesday.

The CDC said Sunday evening that the second case of Ebola — the first case of person-to-person transmission to have happened on U.S. soil — was the result of a "breach of protocol" in treating Duncan when he returned to Texas Presbyterian a second time. But Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC director, said the unidentified nurse could not "identify the specific breach" that resulted in the disease spreading to her.

National Nurses United has urged hospitals to waste no time in upgrading their emergency readiness for Ebola "based on steady reports from nurses at multiple hospitals who are alarmed at the inadequate preparation they see at their hospitals. The time to act is long overdue," DeMoro, the executive director, said.

Appropriate measures would include ongoing training sessions for nurses and demonstrations of how to correctly put on and take off protective equipment, a registered nurse at the association told NBC News a week and a half ago, when the group had just begun collecting data on hospitals' Ebola readiness.

Other nurses' groups have downplayed the survey percentage numbers, pointing out that infection prevention — for Ebola or any other contagious disease — is standard education in nursing.
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