A few months ago, I was offered the opportunity to review a book. Not only was I intrigued by the title and description – I LOVE doing pretty much anything that supports a nurse getting their voice out there! I happily agreed and began reading Nursing from Within: A Fresh Alternative to Putting Out Fires and Self-Care Workarounds by Elizabeth Scala.
In an attempt to keep up with this current outbreak, I will be posting updates on this new page. If you are looking for general information regarding this disease, you can read all about it on my previous post – What is Ebola? There you will find basic information about the disease, how it is transmitted and other pertinent data.
Please check back often as I will be updating this page as new information becomes available. It is IMPERATIVE that we stay informed, especially the health care workers. We are dealing with a viral outbreak that is unprecedented. I will also post links to where I have obtained the current information and my analysis of the information, if warranted.
I had the opportunity to participate in a discussion regarding the current Ebola situation with some other nurse bloggers. You can watch that video HERE.
- CDC Ebola Website
- CDC Information for Healthcare Workers
- World Health Organization (WHO) Ebola Website
This post was originally posted on Aug 2, 2014 and has since been updated.
As this emerging disease continues, I plan to update this page as pertinent information becomes available, so please check back often.
Updated Aug 4, 2014, Aug 5, 2014, Aug 15, 2014 & Oct 4, 2014
So a few months ago I wrote a little piece on the MERS virus that showed up in the United States. (You can read about it here.) What caught my attention at the time was that this previously isolated outbreak of a new, little understood virus was now in my back yard. So, I started to do some research, educated myself and then shared it with you all. What I have learned is I have an uncanny enjoyment in learning about these new and evolving disease and probably should have been an epidemiologist…. that being said, as I was reading up on MERS, I also started coming across reports about the small Ebola outbreak in Africa. At the time, there was very little information about it in the media and it appeared to be contained. Well, we all know now how that turned out…. So, again, here I am reading anything I can get my hands on and learning all that I can. And again, my attention is heightened as the first case of an infected patient arrived in the US today. Ok, crazy diseases…. you have my attention again! So, here is what I have figured out, learned and can ascertain from all that I have read. Again, I am not an alarmist by any measure, but I do believe in being educated, so here is what I know this far.
Aug 4, 2014, the CDC did a Twitter chat with their leading Ebola expert. Updates have been incorporated for what was learned.
Current statistics according to the WHO – 1603 confirm, probable or suspected cases and 887 deaths = 55% mortality rate as of Aug 1, 2014. Countries involved are Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and now Nigeria. A patient is being isolated and tested at Mt. Sinai Hospital in NYC as well as a patient in Saudi Arabia.
The second infected American, a nurse, arrived today at Emory Hospital in Atlanta for treatment.
Aug 15, 2015 Updates – As of Aug 11, the WHO reports 1975 cases with 1069 deaths = 54% mortality rate.
Oct 4, 2014 Updates – As of Sept 23, the WHO reports 6553 cases with 3083 deaths = 47% mortality. More alarming is the rate of mortality among health care workers – 375 cases with 211 deaths = 47% mortality.
I had an interesting time this past week in clinicals. I have always said that each week, a theme or lesson seems to prevail and that is what I usually end up talking about in post-conference. I kind of let the day’s experiences dictate our discussions. Those lived experiences are usually the most powerful, so I try to capitalize on them. Often times they are the more “soft subjects” that are not always easily learned from a book. This week was no exception and the lesson clearly was about the patient’s perspective.
So I came across this in my Facebook feed this morning and now I can’t stop thinking about it! Basically, it appears this young girl is suffering from a very serious illness and is hospitalized for transfusion. Well, her nurse that day, Tom, decides to do a duet with her singing one of the songs from Frozen. It is so precious, moving and just sweet!
It reminds me that this is what nursing is about – connecting with people, making them feel better, even if just for a moment. It is what I love about nursing, that we can be that for someone in need. So often we get lost in doing our “job”, that we forget our job is people. Take the time, connect with someone and remember, “Love is an open door!”
The Best Nurse EVER! “Love is an open door” duet <– here’s the link if the video doesn’t embed.
If you have worked in an academic hospital, you know what July 1 means…
Each year on July 1, the new interns transition from medical student to full-fledged, long coated doctors. All of the residents move on to the next level – whether it is just another rung on the ladder or moving on to their fellowships. When I first became a nurse, it was a strange phenomenon to me – it was like a flood gate opened and it seemed like non of the medical staff knew what was going on. I learned quickly that you needed to be on your toes.
Sorry I have been a little quiet, but have been out of town for a wedding. However, I wanted to share some articles that I have recently had posted in various areas of the web. Hope you enjoy & please feel free to share or click the like/share links on the sites to show support!
Thanks for the support!!
What is M.E.R.S?
When the first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) showed up in the United States recently, it got my attention. Don’t get me wrong, I am not usually reactionary or an alarmist, but I know these little viruses can be pretty dangerous. I also know we don’t have a lot in our medical arsenal to fight against the thing. So, when a virus makes the national news for being the first case, I pay attention. I was mildly comforted when I realized in was in Indiana, a few thousand miles away from my home. That comfort was shaken shortly after when another case showed up on Orlando, just a few hours from home. OK, now it has my attention.
Again, I usually watch these things get blown out of proportion on the news, and really don’t give it much thought. Maybe it was the unusually early and virulent flu season we just had or the recent EBOLA outbreak (that no one seems to be talking about). But, what I think really got my attention today, all healthcare workers who were exposed to the patient were placed in “home isolation”, however, two were being watched closely due to possible new onset of symptoms. Yup, you got my attention.
Caregiver fatigue has been a well recognized situation with families of long term illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it hasn’t been until recent years that caregiver fatigue has been recognized in health care workers, such as nurses and sometimes physicians. It is often referred to as compassion fatigue when applied to health care workers. Nurses are especially vulnerable to compassion fatigue especially due to their close care and relationship with patients each and every day. Those nurses especially at risk are nurses who work in high acuity areas such as intensive care units and the emergency department where outcomes are not often considered “positive”.
Caregiver fatigue is often characterized by depression, poor work attitude and general lack of empathy to their patients and the peers. The persons tend to be very irritable and demonstrate periods of poor coping with periods of outbursts. Suffers often describe difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. The symptoms often creep up on the sufferer and is usually recognized by those around them before the person themselves. You know that cranky nurse you hate getting report from… she may be suffering too.
Advanced directives – a call to action!
I have been a nurse for over 15 years now – most of it spent in critical care areas. I have seen lots of people expire and pass on. Often it is a sad moment – a life taken too soon. There are also those rare deaths that are just beautiful – a peaceful transition. But, the saddest and hardest part for me is not the death, but it is when the family is left with decisions they were not prepared to make. In our society we are not accustom to speaking about death – its very taboo. We all know it is going to happen, however, we just don’t want to talk about it. So, sadly, what often happens is a loved one becomes critically ill and end of life decisions need to be made. Hopefully, those critical conversations have been had, and the decisions are clear. But, unfortunately, that is not always the case. Often, loved ones are left with the pressing question, “what would they have wanted?”. It is heart wrenching to watch a child have to make those decisions for an aging parent.
Today is National Healthcare Decision Day – this day was set aside to encourage people to speak up and have those conversations! It is reported that 90% of Americans have thought about end of life decision, however only 29% actually have a living will. It starts with a conversation. When you are unable to speak, who will speak for you? Will they know what to say?
Today is the day to have the conversation.
A call to action!
- Think about what decisions you would want at the end of your life.
- Decide on a Substitute Decision Maker and talk with them about your decisions.
- Talk to you other family members so they know how you feel also.
- Write it down! Although it is not iron clad – at least your wishes will be known. These are often referred to as “advanced directives”.
- Tell your health care provider.
For more information please visit http://www.nhdd.org/ for more information and tips. There are also copies of advanced directive forms under the public relations link.
Leave me a comment if you were called to action! Be brave and take this loving step for your family!
Please share with everyone you know!