Jump to content

Nursing and the Ebola Virus

Disasters   (122,954 Views 500 Comments)
by 0.adamantite 0.adamantite (Member) Member Nurse

0.adamantite has 3 years experience and specializes in Acute Care - Adult, Med Surg, Neuro.

9,492 Profile Views; 233 Posts

For those of us in unaffected countries, are you concerned about the ebola virus spreading? Would you care for ebola patients? I live in an area with a very high density of African immigrants and come into contact with these individuals regularly. We have a lot of African immigrants who bring back tuberculosis from their home countries and at my unit we end up caring for them. We take care of a lot of rare infectious diseases. I was reading an article and it dawned on me how plausible it would be for me to encounter this virus. And I admit, it's terrifying and I might refuse that assignment. Many healthcare workers in Africa are dying because of caring for the ill.

Edited by Joe V

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Zara, RN has 3 years experience and specializes in Rehab, Skilled Nursing.

17 Posts; 1,560 Profile Views

I've been following the news also and this is very serious. This disease progresses quickly. No cure and 90% of those who come into contact with it die. Physicians and nurses are dying :(

Early treatment gives some kind of good prognosis, but it's symptoms are initially fever, flu like symptoms and then finally internal bleeding! At that point too late! With the upcoming flu season that will seem like everyone.

I'm not sure what would happen if we end up having a case here. It would really become a nightmare for all healthcare providers.

I would hope that they would isolate them all from the public. How frightening for all!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 6,003 Posts; 47,584 Profile Views

Yep, I am getting pretty darned concerned. I think we can only contain this for so long. It is going to spread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Esme12 is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

5 Followers; 4 Articles; 20,896 Posts; 146,893 Profile Views

we had a thread about this recently....https://allnurses.com/nursing-news/liberia-nurses-abandoned-932032-page2.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

imintrouble has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in LTC Rehab Med/Surg.

2,398 Posts; 51,211 Profile Views

I don't see how we can refuse to care for those patients. That's not a saint/nurse response. Our job description does not exempt us from caring for diseases that present the greater risk.

As a practical question, how would you make assignments?

There would obviously be strict isolation, but who would staff it?

If every nurse said "not me", then who?

Would a hospital continue to employ nurses, who decided the risk involved in that part of their job was unacceptable?

If those nurses who refused were fired, how many would be left?

Would the nurse managers be expected to take a turn in the isolation areas, if nobody wanted to go?

I've been following this outbreak since it was first reported back in Feb/March. I don't see how it can be contained.

Edited by imintrouble

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HouTx has 35 years experience as a BSN, MSN, EdD and specializes in Critical Care, Education.

9,051 Posts; 44,939 Profile Views

Houston has one of the largest population of Nigerian immigrants in the US & lots of international travelers. Yep, it's very concerning. Lots of very difficult ethical/legal issues involved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 Follower; 2,074 Posts; 36,345 Profile Views

I believe the incubation period is 7-10 days meaning that a person who is exposed will not be symptomatic for a week or so. In today's world one can travel just about anywhere in less than 7 days.

It will be interesting to see how this evolves.

With the wars and the climate and the ebola scare, etc some are reviewing the Biblical prophecies for end of time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

22 Posts; 1,177 Profile Views

I don't think you're actually contagious until you start showing symptoms, I could be wrong it was just a tidbit I picked up when reading about that doctor who died. There was another man who actually flew to Texas (Abilene?) or maybe it was his family, the potentially infected are being quarantined, though the article didn't say those exact words, something about they were just staying with family. It's definitely scary, and containment should have been done months ago. When I first started following this story back in Feb/March I told my husband to watch it spread like wildfire. It could hop the ocean and be here at any time. Not at all fear mongering, but this is a very serious illness. The mortality rate on this is extremely high, even with early detection.

I was trying to think of ways this doctor could have become infected. Knowing the disease like he did, and knowing the precautions to take, I wonder how he actually contracted the virus in the first place. I'm sure he wasn't being lax about proper procedure, and the fact that he knew the virus so well, and contracted it anyway scares me. I would like to think that because we have more readily available medical care and don't have the same funeral customs as the Nigerians do that this could be contained better on our own soil. I guess the good thing about the virus is that it kills too quickly to mutate into something airborne, which is when the crap would really hit the fan. Scary stuff for sure.

I don't know how I would be able to provide care for someone with this virus and not make a mistake being so nervous about possible infection. But I am also just a student and have no formal training as of yet. Thinking about outbreaks like this does make me nervous though, when it comes to my future nursing profession. You can't just say you're not going to help treat someone because the disease is more dangerous. But the quality of care and the safety of that care to myself is something I'd be concerned with, because I honestly think that even with many many years of training and experience under my belt I'd be scared to death that I'm going to do something that will cause me to become infected, while providing care for those who already are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 6,003 Posts; 47,584 Profile Views

Don't be too sure that it can't mutate to airborne. It is possible it already has and that is why doctors and nurses who take proper precautions are still getting it. Hard to say at this point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mrnightinggale has 3 years experience.

112 Posts; 5,229 Profile Views

Follow-up question. Dr. Ken Brantly, working for Samaritan's Purse in West Africa is now infected with Ebola. If he survives, will he be able to treat Ebola patients without wearing any protective clothing as long as he decontaminates after work to keep from being a carrier? Just curious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 6,003 Posts; 47,584 Profile Views

I believe he died yesterday

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

150 Posts; 4,050 Profile Views

I dont see how you would have an ebola pt in a hospital, I would hope they would be quarantined before they got to one, that would just be a disaster if it got to a hospital, seeing how MRSA, cdiff etc can sometimes spread and infect other pts on a unit. I would think they would have a special team of people volunteering to work with them in a separate facility, because I would walk out rather than be forced to care for ebola pt, sorry! Also, if you're a pt or a family member and you see people going into a room down the hall in hazmat gear, wouldnt you wonder what is going on! I would leave AMA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
×