Emergency Nursing, Ebola, and Public Policy: the Contributions of Nursing to the Public Policy Conversation
Wolf, L.; Ulrich, C.M.; Grady, C.
Hastings Center Report 46(Suppl 1): S35-S38
Excellent patient care within the emergency department requires interdisciplinary training, teamwork, and communication to manage the chaos of the environment. Specifically, invasive procedures required to manage airway, breathing, and circulation via intubation, chest compressions, and establishing intravenous access can provide a direct benefit to save lives but also have the potential to harm both patients and health care clinicians alike; emergency health care clinicians can be exposed to significant amounts of blood and body fluids as well as other threats of physical and psychological harm. The ethical components of care in this environment are often under-recognized due to the need for rapid patient assessment and immediate action. Moreover, challenges to practice that can include lack of qualified personnel, equipment, and other resources to provide safe care to a large volume of patients can lead to moral distress in ED staff. Because the ED is a high-uncertainty, high-acuity environment, continuing interprofessional communication, collaboration, and planning is critical. Opportunities for multidisciplinary policy dialogue and the development of professional guidelines can make the ED a safer environment for both patients and providers.