Nurses have a duty to help educate the public on Ebola

I woke up this morning to read on Twitter that a healthcare worker in Dallas had tested positive for Ebola. As I turned on the TV to watch Face the Nation, CDC chief Dr. Frieden stated “Infections only occur when there is a breach in protocol”. They seem to be focusing on how the PPE was removed, and some of the life saving procedures that were used to try and save the index patient, Mr. Duncan, such as dialysis and intubation. You can view that interview here.

Of course the Internet is awash with conspiracy theories and misinformation about Ebola, as I noticed when checking my Facebook and Twitter feeds. As I scrolled through some people’s posts and links, I was astounded by how little some people actually know about disease transmission, specifically when it comes to a highly infectious disease such as Ebola. Ebola is not airborne. The government has not engineered Ebola to control the population. (I really saw this on Facebook. Um, wow.) This article from the New York Times has a great quote from Dr. Clay Jenkins of Dallas County:

Ebola quote

I think all healthcare workers, especially Nurses who are on Social Media, have a duty to help educate the public on this crisis. We need to be proactive and share factual, evidenced based information with the public on how Ebola is contracted, how it can be spread, and what the public can do to keep themselves safe. We need to help educate people who have misinformation about this deadly disease. Panic and hysteria doesn’t help anyone. I included some links at the end of this post that I have found useful to help spread the correct information. Look to your professional organizations for guidance and talking points as well. Most organizations today have websites and various other social media accounts, so they are are a good place to start.  (And remember, don’t feed the internet trolls.)

All healthcare workers know the risks involved with caring for highly contagious patients such as Mr. Duncan. I have been a Nurse for 17 years, and in that time I have taken care of many patients with infectious diseases, although none of those diseases were as deadly as Ebola. I won’t deny that my heart sunk when I heard the news this AM, and I immediately wondered if the healthcare worker was a nurse. Nurses spend a lot of time with their patients in ICU, especially when they are in isolation as Mr. Duncan was. I’m sad for Mr. Duncan and his family, and I am worried about this new patient and his/her family.

Center for DIsease Control

CDC Information for Healthcare Workers

US Department of Health and Human Services

Texas Department of State Health Services

Dallas County Health and Human Services

NASN radio podcast on Ebola

American Nurses Association

American Medical Association

 

SBMI Donates Nursing Informatics Collection to TMC LIbrary

SBMI, where I am studying for my  Masters in Health Informatics, has recently donated a large Nursing Informatics collection to the McGovern Historical Center. McGovern has all sorts of interesting collections that have been digitzied and placed on their website, including these great vintage postcards from Texas health facilities. I especially love the old pictures from Galveston, where I went to Nursing School.

 

My two worlds have collided!

In a really neat twist, my two worlds of School Nursing and Informatics have something in common this week. My school district recently updated their website, which I love, and today they added an interactive dashboard:

KIDS logo

So how does this relate to my Healthcare Informatics studies at SBMI? This semester I am taking a class on data visualization, and we are going to learn how to design dashboards and other interactive displays. So far the classes have been very interesting. It’s great that I have a real world example that is personal to me to refer back to. This dashboard got me to thinking about my school clinic data, and how I could develop an interactive dashboard with Tableau once I get more comfortable with the program. More projects to work on!

KISD apple

You saw HOW many students?!

Ever wonder just how many students a School Nurse might see in a year? Or how many medications she might give? How about the percentage of students who return to class?

At my elementary school campus, at the beginning of each year I prepare a report for the staff that covers some stats from the past school year. Check it out here. I give a more in-depth report to my Administrators periodically during the school year as well, but this will give you an idea of what type of data School Nurses collect in their day to day work. Having an electronic health record system for all of our students really helps in that process as well.

School Nurses out there, how do you share your data with your campuses? I’d love to hear how you get the info out there, and if you use electronic health records.

 

Great poster infographic on Future of Nursing

No doubt you’ve heard of the IOM’s report The Future of Nursing. What I discovered recently is that you can download a free copy of the report from the National Academies Press here. I love this site, and have downloaded other articles and references for some of my Informatics classes at SBMI.

Equally cool is this great infographic, that you can either download or order in poster form.

What are Nurses blogging about?

I’ve been searching a lot on the Internet lately for Nursing and Nurse-written blogs. One of the topics I’m really interested in is how and why Nurses are using social media. As someone who has used apps like Twitter and Facebook for many years in a personal capacity, I have been hesitant to delve into Social Media as a professional. I’m most comfortable on Social Media just as I am in my real life, as an observer. I can spend hours reading Twitter posts and articles from others, yet only comment occasionally. I rarely post on polarizing issues, and I’m also not one to post a lot of personal details. (Starting a blog has been a big step outside my box, to say the least.)

My hubby, Mom and sister are all Nurses, and they use social media as well but more in a personal capacity like me. And as the mother of two pre-teen boys, I can tell you they live and die by their Instagram feeds, text messages from their friends and YouTube videos of the latest Xbox game. I’ve spent many a late night perusing their phones while they are fast asleep. 

So when I found this list of Nursing blogs on the AJN blog, I felt like I had hit the jackpot. It’s going to take me time to go through the list and digest all these blogs. One of my current projects is to read all the Nursing blogs I can get my hands on, and see what is out there. The ANA has guidelines for social media use, but I’m curious to know if and how these translate into real life. Do most Nurses heed the ANA recommendation, and have separate social media accounts for their personal and professional lives?