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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Let's just hope

In my honest belief that anything--and I mean anything-- can be used for a higher good, I think this whole Ebola situation actually could fall into that category.  No, I'm not suggesting that someone losing their life to this disease is a "good thing" but it got your attention didn't it?

I think the US, in it's arrogance, thinks we have most things all figured out and we're on top of just about anything that can happen to us, when the truth looks a whole lot different.  911, serious Secret Service gaffs, and numerous other examples point to the truth-- that we really don't "have it all together at all."

Enter Ebola.  My belief is NO DALLAS HOSPITAL was prepared to take care of an ER walk-in, possible Ebola patient, much less Presby.  They simply drew the black bean when Thomas Eric Duncan walked into their ER.  If you've ever been to an ER, you know the craziness that is part and parcel of what goes on in a life and death environment.  Nurses put their lives on the line EVERY DAY in the ER, and everywhere else.  Ineffective communication, no training, no protocols in place, no drills, no experience and no hazmat suits, equals disaster-- I don't care how "good" you think you are. 

In my experience, Hospital Administrators make decisions around staff based on the "bottom line" of the budget, and what they are "required" to have in place by JCAHO.  In my 36 years as a nurse and experience in Administration, I have seen education and training for nurses cut repeatedly in order for the hospital to purchase the sexiest new ___X___ that administrators think will suck in more patient dollars.  Nurses?  Maybe next year, gals.

As a female dominated profession, we have ALLOWED this treatment. We have done NOTHING to stop it because the alternative was to abandon people (patients) at their most vulnerable.  Walk out?  Unacceptable.  Let someone die?  No way.  But these same nurses are "on their own" in a hospital lawsuit. More often than not we're simply disposable. 

So, if anything good comes from this whole Ebola scenario, I'm hopeful that nurses will unionize so they can demand protection, education, shift breaks, staffing quotas, equipment, etc.  If nurses put their lives on the line every day, they deserve at least that much.  They deserve to be treated like valued assets-- not children.                  

Lastly, I'm ready for the truth to come out about how hospitals REALLY function.  Every hospital has it's horror stories and secrets, and it's time we all got honest.  I'm ready for the US, Presby (and the CDC) to act with some humility and admit we simply don't know everything, aren't the best, the smartest, or even the kindest. And we sure as hell aren't honest.  Enough with the spin.

 Maybe... just maybe.... that might be the good that comes out of this whole Ebola thing.  I hope so.

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