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Nurses union asks congressional committee for mandatory Ebola standards


Photo: Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock

Washington – A lack of mandatory standards on Ebola for health care workers leaves nurses unprepared and vulnerable to infection, a registered nurse and union official testified during an Oct. 24 House hearing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its infection-control guidelines for health care workers, but Deborah Burger contends that the guidelines are not enough.

Burger, co-president of the Silver Spring, MD-based union National Nurses United, told House Oversight and Government Reform Committee members that voluntary compliance has led to inadequately trained nurses, insufficient supplies of personal protective equipment and varying hospital protocols.

More than three-fourths of nurses reported they lack adequate training and that hospital facilities are insufficiently prepared for Ebola, Burger said, citing a recent NNU survey of 3,000 nurses across the country.

“This is what happens when guidelines are insufficient and voluntary,” Burger said. She called on either President Barack Obama to issue an Executive Order or Congress to pass legislation mandating national standards on PPE and training.

In related news, the American Nurses Association is hosting a free webinar on Oct. 30 about how to effectively handle Ebola cases.