– Call Follows NNU Release of Statement from Texas Health Presbyterian RNs Citing Concerns about Hospital Preparedness
OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — With news Wednesday morning that a second Dallas health worker has now tested positive for Ebola, more than 10,000 registered nurses from across the U.S. are expected to join a conference call Wednesday hosted by National Nurses United to discuss what U.S. hospitals are doing to prepare for Ebola to improve safety for patients, nurses, other hospital personnel, and wider communities they service. The call will be held at 3 p.m. EDT, 12 noon PDT.
(Media may listen in to the call via webcast, at https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/731/6167 or via phone, from U.S. or Canada, +1-877-384-4190 or international, +1-857-244-7412. Participant Code 26306511#. The call will be open to media questions after nurses’ questions. When the call is opened for press questions, push *1 (star one) to be put thru to an operator-assisted queue.)
Press conference and call in at 2000 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA
The call occurs just hours after NNU released a statement by RNs who work at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas voicing frustration and concern over what they viewed as a lack of preparation and training at their hospital, the first in the U.S. to see, first a patient with Ebola who subsequently died, and now an RN who has been infected with the virus.
In the statement, the Texas RNs described confusion in the hospital over policies in responding to patients with Ebola, inadequate advance training and availability of proper personal protective equipment, and changing guidelines. In the end, the nurses, said they felt "unsupported, unprepared and deserted to handle the situation on their own."
"Sadly, the problems expressed by the heroic Texas Health Presbyterian RNs were predictable in our fragmented, uncoordinated private healthcare system, and it mirrors concerns we’ve heard from nurses across the U.S.," said NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro.
"There is no standard short of optimal in safety for patients, RNs, and the public," said DeMoro. "Nurses and other frontline hospital personnel must have the highest level of protective equipment, such as the Hazmat suits Emery University or the CDC themselves use while transporting patients and hands on training and drills for all RNs and other hospital personnel including the practice of putting on and taking off the optimal equipment. The time to act is long overdue."
NNU has been warning for weeks that nurses throughout the U.S. have concerns about inadequate preparation for confronting Ebola – represented again by 10,000 RNs who have now signed up for the call via the NNU website and Facebook.
More than 2,300 RNs have also completed an online survey on Ebola. Highlights:
- 85 percent say their hospital has not provided education on Ebola with the ability for the nurses to interact and ask questions – a percentage that remains largely unchanged.
- 40 percent say their hospital has insufficient current supplies of eye protection (face shields or side shields with goggles) for daily use on their unit; 41 percent say there are insufficient supplies of fluid resistant/impermeable gowns in their hospital – both numbers are increasing as more survey results come in.
- 40 percent say their hospital does not have plans to equip isolation rooms with plastic covered mattresses and pillows and discard all linens after use; only 8 percent said they were aware their hospital does have such a plan in place.
NNU is calling for all U.S. hospitals to immediately implement a full emergency preparedness plan for Ebola, or other disease outbreaks. That includes:
- Full training of hospital personnel, along with proper protocols and training materials for responding to outbreaks, with the ability for nurses to interact and ask questions.
- Adequate supplies of Hazmat suits and other personal protective equipment.
- Properly equipped isolation rooms to assure patient, visitor, and staff safety.
- Proper procedures for disposal of medical waste and linens after use.