Engaging the Nursing Education Community in the Local Response to the Ebola Virus
The global nursing workforce plays a critical role in ensuring patient safety and promoting optimal health. As first responders when health-threatening emergencies arise, nurses are always there to provide lifesaving care as the patient’s strongest advocate and protector.
The devastating impact the Ebola virus is having on communities and healthcare professionals in West Africa demands an international response and underscores the need to expedite efforts to contain this communicable disease. The emergence of Ebola infections in the United States has heightened local concerns about our healthcare system’s ability to respond effectively to prevent the spread of the virus while maintaining the safety of the public and caregivers.
The Tri-Council for Nursing, which includes representatives from nursing education, research, and practice, supports efforts that engage all segments of the nursing workforce in eradicating the Ebola virus. Nurses are deployed in all places where healthcare is delivered, including community health settings that are critical to serving vulnerable and underserved populations. With formal training and advanced preparation on how to protect patients as well as their own health, nurses working in communities and acute care environments should be called to lead efforts that educate the public about Ebola and personal safety measures. As the most trusted healthcare providers, nurses can and should play a greater role in reducing fears that may persist in the face of conflicting information.