From Texas Nurses Association Executive Director Cindy Zolnierek, PhD, RN
We are alarmed that a second nurse has contracted the Ebola virus and hope for her full recovery. The transmission of Ebola to care providers should raise concerns among us all – particularly nurses who are on the frontline and spend the most hands-on time with patients. Ebola has presented us with a new challenge. We appreciate efforts of the CDC to continuously improve our response, the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, and most of all, to the brave health care workers at Presbyterian.
This is an anxious time. This is why I am personally concerned that nurses are recognized as the highly-qualified professionals that we are. We read reports that unidentified nurses have had concerns about their ability to provide safe patient care and that those concerns began when the first Ebola patient was admitted to Presbyterian Hospital in September. Nurses who have such concerns have an obligation to raise those concerns at the time, all the way to the chief nursing officer if necessary. We expect hospitals to provide effective training and equipment. We are pleased that the CDC is sending special teams to help if and when new cases are discovered.
TNA has fought for 25 years to ensure that nurses have solid legal protections when advocating for safe patient care. If nurses make their concerns known in good faith, they are legally protected against retaliation and have right to “safe harbor.” There is a specific process for nurses to follow. TNA is ready to help educate and assist nurses to understand their rights. Please contact us directly or visit our website for additional resources: texasnurses.org.