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Nurses: Feeling Unprepared To Handle Ebola? Education is Key

Photo Courtesy CDC

How Ebola Impacted West African Healthcare Providers

When the 2014 outbreak of Ebola began to wreak havoc in West Africa back in February, multiple reports stated that health care givers attempting to treat patients became infected with the disease themselves.

Several of them died.

As of late September, the total deaths recorded in affected countries including Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Senegal were 3,159.
While these deaths are tragic, there are a number cultural and infrastructural circumstances that provide a bit of context as to why the Ebola disease has been so devastating to these African nations.

  • Many regions throughout the affected areas have no running water. Washing with soap and water is an important factor in preventing the spread of the disease.
  • Certain cultural practices, including the ceremonial washing of a dead person’s body, exposes people to bodily fluids. These practices can often lead to infection.
  • Many hospitals and clinics don’t have enough beds, products, equipment or staff to keep up with the infection rate. There’s also a lack of isolation for those infected.
  • Many of these countries mistrust Western medical practitioners. Some believe that western health professionals created the disease and brought it these African countries.

American Nurses Concerned As Ebola Cases Hit U.S.

As the U.S. begins to experience its first few cases of Ebola appearing in the United States, several members of the medical community have expressed that they aren’t prepared to deal with the disease. In a recent poll from National Nurses United, 85 percent of U.S. nurses said they hadn’t received adequate training on admitting an Ebola patient.
After news broke that the first nurse infected in the U.S. contracted Ebola while treating the now deceased Eric Thomas Duncan, it’s a justifiable concern.  
However, it’s important for U.S. nurses to understand that aren’t destined to the same fate.

The infected nurse is currently undergoing treatment and remains in isolation, something many healthcare givers in West Africa weren’t afforded.  

While no nation wants to deal with such an epidemic, the American healthcare system has far more resources and manpower to meet the demands of Ebola patients, including the ability to quarantine, house patients and get life-saving drugs to them as soon as possible.

How To Do Your Job Without Placing Yourself in Jeopardy

The key to nurses protecting themselves and others from infection while dealing with Ebola is education.

Nurses have to be trained on how to identify Ebola, how to treat patients with Ebola and how to remain safe when coming into contact with Ebola.
The National Nurses United union has even called for a collective plan of action for nurses that teaches them how to use gear properly.
Some hospitals across the nation have already jumped on the ball, providing a blueprint for nurses to put into action, but many organizations are scrambling to address the problem.

If the leaders in your health field aren’t providing you with the training you need, it’s absolutely necessary that you pursue a continuing education for your own safety.

Here’s a short list of the things a course or plan must cover in order to prepare you for dealing with Ebola:

  1. A thorough understanding of what Ebola is
  2. A thorough understanding of how it’s transmitted between humans
  3. The signs and symptoms of the disease in beginning and advanced stages
  4. The care that needs to be provided to Ebola patients
  5. How to prevent Ebola from spreading when in close proximity

We offer a completely free Ebola CE course right here at Just visit to study the course, take the test and receive a certificate of completion.

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