Now that two nurses treating Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan have themselves been cleared of the disease, it is time to ask: Do nurses and other healthcare professionals have a duty to treat patients? What of the unsung healthcare "workers" -- hazmat teams, EMTs, transporters who wheel stretchers, lab techs who test urine and blood, or the valet who escorts a vomiting person to the ER door?
A nurses' union is sounding the alarm about the lack of safety protocols at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas after two nurses there apparently contracted Ebola from a patient who later died of the virus. The claims made by National Nurses United, if true, are startling.
Nurses in at least 14 states and the District of Columbia plan strikes and a national day of action to protest for better patient care and Ebola preparedness on November 11 and 12, according to a statement from National Nurses United (NNU), a nursing union with 155,000 members.
Back in the day, nurses will tell you, if a doctor came into a room and no chair was available for him, a nurse would have to give up her seat. Those days are long gone, but for a long time, nurses didn't have a guaranteed seat at the health care policy table—until now. The Ebola epidemic, and its intrusion into the U.S. health care system, brought nurses fully into the national conversation about how to handle this potential public health threat. For the overall good of our health care system, we need to stay there.
The decision by a Maine judge to reject requests by state health officials to restrict the movement of nurse Kaci Hickox was the right call for at least two reasons: It is science-based, and mandatory quarantine would unnecessarily pull scarce public health resources from other serious threats to the health of Americans. But we also must acknowledge that when it comes to the health and safety of the public, policies are rarely made solely on the basis of science.
A mounting demand for health care services is bolstering the need for registered nurses across the country, and particularly in the greater Houston area. Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations, this according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Nurses give and give, but who comforts them in return? To help them avoid depletion, exhaustion and sacrifice, retired nursing professor Linda Edgar says they should receive nurturing, too. Edgar’s latest book, A New Look at Caregiving: Two Halves of a Whole, asks readers to recognize care to the caregiver as essential because caregivers' needs are as important as those they serve.
In This Issue
Liz Di Bernardo