When I first read about the Ebola outbreak in Guinea sometime last winter, I did not pay much attention to it. Nine months later over 2000 people have died, the majority of them women who cared for family members, it has spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal and Nigeria. In watching this disease grow, what’s moved me the most are the written accounts and stories from the front lines. For me, one of the most moving pieces was this recent article in the New York Times.
As the situation has developed into a full-scale epidemiological crisis, American nurse leaders have worked to call all nurses to action and many of you have answered the call. Recently Pamela F. Cipriano, president of the ANA, called for nurses to volunteer to go or make donations. In a fantastic blog post AJN clinical editor Betsy Todd outlined clear differences between how nurses are handling Ebola patients here and in West Africa, echoing the call by the ANA. Most recently came the notification that the CDC will be training nurses to help fight Ebola.
What I find particularly disturbing is the repeated reports of lack of personal protective equipment. Can you imagine doing your daily work as a nurse without gloves? Place yourself in the middle of one of the biggest deadly virus outbreaks of our time. How would you feel about having no gloves? Would you show up to work? It is truly a matter of life and death, no trite phrases needed. Nurses fighting the Ebola outbreak are also the healthcare professionals most likely to die from the disease, holding the highest fatality rate among all other medical groups; it’s time for the rest of us to pitch in and help.
The ANA has called for volunteers along with the CDC and other organizations. However, it is not feasible for all of us to go. For those of us who cannot, we can help get the word out and make change in the following ways.
1. Make a donation to the International Medical Corps or other NGO. Any amount will do. Our fellow nurses lives are depending on it.
2. I, along with Dr. Carole Eldridge @NerdNurse, Dr. Kathy Hunter, Bethany Derricott, Dr. Susan Sanner, and several other amazing nurses I work with at Chamberlain College of Nursing have pledged our social media accounts this weekend to getting the word out. Could you do the same? #nursesfightebola All tweets and posts that go out on 9/20 and 9/21 should be dedicated to this fight.
3. Below are some tweets, FB, LinkedIn, Instagram posts you can feel free to use, but don’t forget your hashtag #nursesfightebola.
4. Continue to read, support, and talk about this outbreak and how we can support fellow nurses globally.
Let’s use #SoMe to advance the cause. I will be personally tapping several of you to commit, because I know your love of nursing and global health, and your power on social media.
For those of you with trepidation about donations to large organizations and inadequacies of governments… Can I guarantee how money will be spent? Can I guarantee shipping of needed supplies to into the countries, and then on to the nurses who need them? Can I assure you that all of the governments and agencies involved will behave ethically? The answer of course is ‘no’, but please do not let that stop you from taking action. If we all do nothing, then I can guarantee that nothing will change.
A special thank you to the ANA for already working to get nurses involved, to the American Journal of Nursing for using their blog to bring important issues to the forefront, and to National Public Radio for taking much time in the last few weeks reporting on this issue. One of their most powerful interviews on healthcare workers can be found here. Finally, thanks to each of you who get the word out and help make change for our fellow nurses in West Africa.
ANA call to help nurses fighting Ebola! #nursesfightebola– http://nursingworld.org/Ebola-Information
Nurses working without even gloves to help fight Ebola via @AmJNurs #nursesfightebola – http://ajnoffthecharts.com/2014/09/16/ebola-infection-control-resources-make-all-the-difference/
#Nurses have you helped your colleagues fight Ebola? #nursesfightebola – http://nursingworld.org/Ebola-Information
Not just volunteers but donors needed, could you provide a box of gloves? ANA backing this #NGO to help #nursesfightebola – http://internationalmedicalcorps.org/ebola-emergency-response#.VByVhefwn0x
Dear followers, friends, family, I am blocking my other activity on this account this weekend & devoted to the message #nursesfightebola Have you helped yet? http://nursingworld.org/Ebola-Information
The most deadly outbreak of our times. #Nurses have you helped yet #nursesfightebola – https://internationalmedicalcorps.org/imc/how-you-can-help/donation-forms/support-international-medical-corps?source=DPHDRZZZZ
Are we truly a global community of professionals #nurse #nursesfightebola – http://ajnoffthecharts.com/2014/09/16/ebola-infection-control-resources-make-all-the-difference/
Nurses need infection control resources! Help now!! Via @AmJNurs – http://ajnoffthecharts.com/2014/09/16/ebola-infection-control-resources-make-all-the-difference/ #nursesfightebola
Healthcare workers top death toll, particularly #nurses and #women, #ebola #nursesfightebola – via @NPR http://www.npr.org/2014/09/01/345044302/ebola-outbreak-takes-toll-on-africas-health-workers
#CDC to train nurses to help in Ebola crisis – http://www.webmd.com/news/20140915/ebola-cdc-training #nursesfightebola