Quote from Suesquatch
Nothing to do with this thread, but I am interested to know if you've ever sonsidered pursuing a degree in public health, since it's such an obvious passion of yours.
Suesquatch, nice to see you back. How have you been?
I am laughing because truly, I never have considered such a thing. My interest was more in the diseases themselves, but now I find myself in the very strange position of looking at the various ways to keep people, and animals from being infected. I am forced to look at the efficacy of what we are doing and not doing. SARS is a very interesting example, at least to me, of system failure.
It may be that I have more of an activist focus rather than a public health focus because I come from a family of activists.
I do find myself talking to, and asking for advice from some very impressive people both by telephone, and on the internet. This week alone, I have communicated with the Program Coordinator of Bioterrorism and the Public Health of the state I work in, a Dept of Health nurse responsible for policy setting in regards to panflu planning in long term care, the professional practice representative of the state nurses union, a scientist who runs a flu forum , a former medic who writes a very well read flu blog, another very informed person who runs another flu forum, several RN's from many states that post on the various flu forums, an RN from Northern Ireland, who heads a rapid response team, and inservices her staff on panflu, as well as my ex husband, a pathologist, who runs a blood bank in a major east coast city. All of these people have the same concerns, but not all work in public health. We want to see our country, and the world prepared for a possible pandemic that we are not sure is coming, but we feel most likely is.
Like many on the flu forums, I do my share of research, and I try to understand what is happening. You are my colleagues. I bring what I find over here to keep this subject alive for you. It is very, very difficult to educate people about a disease like panflu. It is far away, and seems surreal. What makes it real for me, and those like me, who study it, are the victims, themselves. I am very concerned that these people are young, mostly under age 40, 50% school age kids. The other piece is, we are the caregivers in any scenario involving panflu coming here. Virtually all of the nurses that I have talked to across the country have said that there are inadequate PPE, and no education on this subject. My personal experience has been the same.
I find myself trying to change that in various ways. I know that I can not do this alone. I am just one person. I do what I can, and I have to trust that others will do what they can.
I have had people debate with me about the fact that no sustained human to human transmission has occurred yet. That is their stated reason for not being concerned. I understand it, but I believe that it is a very shortsighted view given the history of pandemics, and the history of the H5N1 virus in particular. I also have no crystal ball to make any predictions about this virus or any of the other contenders. Sometimes I am tempted to ask, especially if a poster is under age 40, "Do you feel lucky?", but I have managed to restrain myself.
I am happy that you have read this thread, and taken the time to reply.
I hope that it gives you food for thought, and stimulates you to ask questions of your workplace, and the authorities who are responsible for the public health. Even if you do not belong to a union, you can communciate your concerns to them, and I hope that you will do so. They do work for the safety of nurses in the workplace, all nurses not just the union members.