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Encouraging Words From A BioContainment Nurse In Omaha Nebraska

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Michael M. Heuninckx specializes in Emergency Department.

17 Articles; 39,525 Profile Views; 43 Posts

Read some good news surrounding Ebola when a Registered Nurse from the BioContainment Patient Care Unit at the Nebraska Medical Center shares her story about how comfortable she feels working in this specialized unit. Also, learn more about what diseases a BioContainment Unit can handle, where they are located in the United States and what "call to action" I have for our courageous nursing colleague and the Nebraska Medical Center.

Do you want to know the policies that are in place to make Cheryl feel safe at work?

  1. 1. Do you want to know the policies that are in place to make Cheryl feel safe at work?

    • Yes, I would greatly appreciate some guidance.
    • No, I feel safe with current policies in place to take care of an Ebola patient.

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Encouraging Words From A BioContainment Nurse In Omaha Nebraska
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With all of the negative news surrounding Ebola, it is hard to find any positives that are being reported. I found some light when I read a story from Cheryl Rand, a Registered Nurse who works in the BioContainment Patient Care Unit at the Nebraska Medical Center. Cheryl was part of the original committee that developed policy and procedures for the BioContainment Patient Care Unit eleven years ago.

What is a BioContainment Patient Care Unit you might ask? This very specialized type of medical unit is currently only located in four hospitals in the United States. The hospitals that contain BioContainment Patient Care Units are:

  • Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia
  • National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland
  • St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana
  • Nebraska Medical Canter in Omaha, Nebraska

According to Dr. Phillip Smith, the Medical Director for the BioContainment Patient Care Unit at the Nebraska Medical Center, the unit was originally designed for agents of biological terrorism. Specifically, Dr. Smith mentions: weaponized Ebola, weaponized plagues and Small Pox. Even though this was the original intent for the creation of this unit, they are also able to handle medical conditions like SARS and the Avian Flu.

Those are some horrific diseases, but Cheryl states that when she gets asked if she feels safe working on the BioContainment unit, "Without hesitation" she reports, "Yes. I feel very safe." This statement is then followed with, "We have the proper procedures and protocols in place that have been developed, tested and rewritten (as needed) for our utmost safety." Along with this Cheryl also gets praise from her family saying that they are "very proud of what I do" and from those who do not work in the BioContainment unit, she also receives "thanks" from. Cheryl states that all of this "really makes me feel good about coming to work."

As a nurse, the words that Cheryl has to say about how she feels safe working in the BioContainment unit are extremely reassuring. This eases my mind and gives me hope that yes, this can be done properly and yes, you can feel safe if properly trained and all of the proper policies and procedures are in place. With all of that being said, now as nurses, we have to hit the ground running and get to work. Become energized through Cheryl's story and use that motivation to create more light and positive news in this time of doom and gloom. We cannot change and have no control over the events that have already occurred, but we can ensure that the same mistakes do not happen again. I believe as nurses we can make this happen, but I think we might need a little help from our inspiring nursing colleague in Nebraska.

Cheryl, I have a call to action for you. Is there any way you can help your fellow nurses out by sharing the exact policies you have helped create for the Nebraska Medical Center's BioContainment Patient Care Unit? Nebraska Medical Center, can you help Cheryl out with this and give her a platform to help educate the nurses of America? I believe that all of the nurses and hospitals in America would benefit from knowing the exact, in black and white, policy and procedures that the hospital has written for the care of an Ebola patient. This would allow hospital committees to have a concrete road map for implementing proven policy and procedures. Along with giving nurses and healthcare professionals the ability compare and contrast the new CDC guidelines to those outlined for the BioContainment Patient Care Unit staff. This side-by-side analysis would allow for identification and further corrections of any gaps in the new CDC guidelines. Through this process, it would give reassurance and restore some faith to healthcare professionals that the highest level of protection and education is being recommended.

With all of that being said, I want to thank Cheryl, the Nebraska Medical Center's BioContainment Patient Care Unit staff and all of the healthcare professionals at all of the hospitals that are ready and willing to help those who are battling Ebola. In my book, all of you are heroes and professionals that I look up to. Keep up the strong work; none of it is going unnoticed.

Michael M. Heuninckx RN-BSN

To read the original article featuring Nebraska Medical Center's BioContainment Patient Care Unit Nurse, Cheryl Rand, please read:

Omaha Nurse Who Wrote Policies for Biocontainment Unit Initially Nervous about First Ebola Patient

For the entire interview with the Medical Director of the BioContainment Unit at Nebraska Medical Center, Dr. Phillip Smith, watch the following YouTube video:

17 Articles; 39,525 Profile Views; 43 Posts

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Hi Michael, thanks for the interesting article. I enjoyed reading and watching the video.

I think you and others would appreciate the below article regarding all "4 biocontainment hospitals". There is great information on each of these facilities listed in the article, as well as a wonderful video of Emory's Isolation Unit. The video is at the end of the article and goes in detail explaining and showing how their room is set up for protection, air pressure, air handling, etc..

Inside the 4 U.S. Biocontainment Hospitals That Are Stopping Ebola [Video] - Scientific American

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Michael M. Heuninckx specializes in Emergency Department.

17 Articles; 43 Posts; 39,525 Profile Views

and from their blog a little about how they work in the unit

There's No Such Thing as an Ordinary Day Battling Ebola - The Nebraska Medical Center

What I love about this blog, is the perspective from another Registered Nurse who also feels comfortable working in the BioContainment Patient Care Unit. Maybe Valerie Becker RN, could join forces with Cheryl Rand RN, to continue to give words of encouragement and reassurances to their fellow nursing community. There is something to be said, again, about the comfort that comes from hearing this from another nurse. A person who gets your job, knows the ins and outs of nursing and knows exactly what a nurse is expected to do because they are a nurse as well.

Thank You Anaonymous865 for your input!

Michael M. Heuninckx RN-BSN

Edited by Joe V

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herring_RN has 48 years experience as a ASN, BSN and specializes in Critical care, tele, Medical-Surgical.

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Thank you. We are asking our facilities to use at minimum what is used tom\ protect the caregivers at the University of Nebraska.

I especially appreciate the video so we can visualize what they do.

I like that their faces can be seen by the patients.

I remember caring for AIDS patients in the early 1980s. We overdid protective gear until learning how HIV was transmitted.

It was so much easier to communicate with our patients when they could see our smiles and facial expressions.

Edited by herring_RN
typo

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brandy1017 is a ASN, RN and specializes in Critical Care.

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It's good to finally here from a front line nurse taking care of Ebola patients. The difference between her and the rest of us is that she volunteered for this and has top of the line protection beyond what the rest of us will have if we face the same. The closer our equipment and protection aligns with these bio-containment facilities the safer we will be. While we don't have the UV light and showers we could use the buddy system, the hazmat suits and respirators and have our PPE sprayed with a disinfectant. We could wear scrubs from work and change them after caring for an Ebola patient and have a shower set aside for us, even if it isn't in the isolation anteroom. Also since the CDC seems hell bent on destroying a healthcare workers home if they test positive at a later date than the hospital should provide rooms to stay during care of patient and the 21 day incubation period so we don't have to worry about losing our home and all our belongings if we test positive! This then goes back to using a voluntary work force as some may have pets or children and be unable to stay away from home. Also I vote hazard pay and higher life insurance for those who volunteer so if the worst happens their families are secure! Our life insurance is only 1X our pay that wouldn't begin to protect our children if the worst happens!

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Michael M. Heuninckx specializes in Emergency Department.

17 Articles; 43 Posts; 39,525 Profile Views

There is great information on each of these facilities listed in the article, as well as a wonderful video of Emory's Isolation Unit. The video is at the end of the article and goes in detail explaining and showing how their room is set up for protection, air pressure, air handling, etc..

Inside the 4 U.S. Biocontainment Hospitals That Are Stopping Ebola [Video] - Scientific American

This article shares a great deal of information about all four facilities, thank you for sharing this! Also the video was phenomenal as well!

Michael M. Heuninckx RN-BSN

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141 Posts; 3,287 Profile Views

You are welcome Michael.

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Michael M. Heuninckx specializes in Emergency Department.

17 Articles; 43 Posts; 39,525 Profile Views

We now have all of our Ebola-related information in one place - health care providers can sign up for a free, online class here:

College of Public Health

Thank you so very much for sharing this education opportunity to all of the readers at allnurses.com. I am excited to enroll and learn from this FREE course.

Thank You again!!!

Michael M. Heuninckx RN-BSN

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2 Posts; 1,187 Profile Views

Glad to help - it's also available via iTunes U - just download the app and search for "Nebraska Ebola" to install the course!

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