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Nurses union calls for higher standards for Ebola protection

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Silver Spring, MD – Hospitals should put in place the “highest standards” for protective equipment and hands-on training to protect health care workers from Ebola, National Nurses United said in a statement issued Oct. 12.

NNU is urging hospitals to enhance their emergency measures during the outbreak, after a nurse in Dallas tested positive for the virus after treating an Ebola patient. A second health care worker at the hospital tested positive on Oct. 15.

The union is asking hospitals to provide:

  • Employee training
  • Adequate supplies of personal protective equipment, including hazmat suits
  • Properly equipped isolation rooms
  • Correct disposal procedures for medical waste and used linens

Findings from a NNU survey of 2,000 registered nurses include:

  • 85 percent said their hospital has yet to provide education about Ebola with the opportunity for nurse discussion
  • 76 percent said their hospital has yet to share a policy about possible admission of Ebola patients
  • 37 percent have insufficient supplies for daily eye protection, and 36 percent do not have enough fluid-resistant/impermeable gowns

NNU also sent a letter to the White House, dated Oct. 15, asking President Barack Obama to mandate “uniform, national standards and protocols that all hospitals must follow to safely protect patients, all healthcare workers, and the public.

Another nurses group, the Washington-based American Nurses Association, is offering resources and encourages its members to review information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.