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76% of nurses say their hospitals could be better prepared for Ebola

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As the tragic news keeps coming in concerning the Ebola outbreak, a new study shows that three out of four nurses in America feel their hospitals have not provided them with sufficient education on Ebola.

These numbers come from an online survey by National Nurses United, which received answers from 1,900 nurses in 46 states and Washington, D.C., according to NBC News.

The study finds that 76 percent of nurses said their hospitals hadn’t communicated an official policy concerning admitting patients with Ebola. Furthermore, 85 percent said hospitals had provided no educational sessions on the disease where nurses could ask questions about policy and the disease. Finally, 37 percent of the nurses polled felt their hospitals did not have sufficient equipment for dealing with the disease, including goggles, protective clothing and face shields.

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The news comes just after two nurses contracted the disease, becoming the first people believed to be infected with the disease in the U.S, according to the New York Times. Both were Texas nurses caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient to be diagnosed with the disease in the U.S. One of those nurses flew on a commercial airline the day before she began exhibiting symptoms of the disease. The Centers for Disease Control is reporting that she should not have been traveling on a commercial airline and are asking all passengers on that flight to contact federal health authorities.

According to CNN, the first Texas nurse has improved since contracting the disease and the second has been transferred to Emory University in Atlanta for care.

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Meanwhile, Dallas nurse Briana Aguirre, who works at Texas Health Presbyterian and cared for Nina Pham, the first nurse to contract Ebola, is speaking out about the hospital’s response to the disease after Thomas Eric Duncan arrived.

In an interview with TODAY‘s Matt Lauer, Aguirre said that hospital administrators never discussed Ebola case procedures with the staff before Duncan’s arrival. “I watched them violate basic principles of nursing. I would try anything and everything to refuse to go there to be treated. I would feel at risk by going there. If I don’t actually have Ebola, I may contract it there,” she said. Aguirre also stated that she felt her protective gear was insufficient while she cared for Pham; the hospital provided her with gloves, protective gowns and a mask, but a gap of several inches around her neck was exposed.

After speaking out against her hospital’s practices, Aguirre said she feared her job may be at risk, but felt she made the right decision in speaking out.

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While some nurses have openly criticized the two nurses who contracted Ebola, many are standing behind their peers and supporting them. Nurse Eye Roll wrote an inspiring open letter to Pham, which she posted on her blog. We were moved by her words and knew you would be, too. Here’s an excerpt:

I wanted to let you know that this nation of nurses stands behind you. We commend you for going to work, putting on your protective equipment, and putting your life at risk to stand at the bedside of a deathly ill and contagious patient for twelve hours at a time.

Thank you.

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Finally, nurses are “Whispering” about Ebola on the anonymous social media site Whisper. According to Mashable, nurse users of the app “say they are afraid, unprotected and thinking of quitting their jobs over the possibility that Ebola may wind up in their hospitals.” Here’s a look at one nurse’s thoughts (see more here):

I work in a Boston hospital, we are seriously afraid of catching Ebola.  More afraid than with any other illness.  But we'll lie and smile to your face saying it's nothing.

Do you feel your hospital has sufficiently educated you and your coworkers about Ebola? Is your workplace prepared to care for a patient with the virus? Share your thoughts below.

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