More than 8 out of 10 nurses in the U.S. say they have received no training related to the Ebola virus, according to a new survey from a nursing union that highlights gaps in communication and shortages of protective equipment in hospitals across the country.
National Nurses United surveyed some 2,000 registered nurses across 46 states and the District of Columbia, asking if their hospital had taken any measures to prepare for the possibility of an Ebola outbreak. Slightly more than three-quarters of respondents said their hospital had communicated no official policy and 85% said they had received no specialized training to identify and interact with patients who may exhibit symptoms of the virus.
More than one-third of respondents said their hospital had insufficient supplies of protective eyeware, impermeable gowns and plastic sheeting for isolation rooms.
“Nurses and other frontline hospital personnel must have the highest level of protective equipment, such as the Hazmat suits Emery University or the CDC themselves use while transporting patients and hands on training and drills for all RNs and other hospital personnel,” said RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United. “That includes the practice [of] putting on and taking off the optimal equipment.”
The poll comes after one nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital tested positive for Ebola on Sunday after treating a Liberian patient with the disease, marking the first known transmission of the virus within the U.S., and raising questions about health officials’ claims that hospitals were prepared to handle patients with Ebola.