Ebola: Real-life lessons for nursing students


About 50 students in scrubs spent Wednesday practicing with masks, gloves and gowns. And for the first time, they're learning about Ebola as part of the curriculum.




For nursing students, minor details of routine procedures were always serious.
Now they can mean the difference between life or death — like a slip when removing a glove.

"No, no, no!" said a nursing instructor at Brookhaven College. "Wash your hands."
Or perhaps using a little too much force taking off a protective mask.
"It can really pop," warned the instructor. "Contaminate even more."

The executive dean over Brookhaven College nursing school canceled clinical work for students this week, recalling them from hospitals and offices to drill again on personal protective equipment.

About 50 students in scrubs spent Wednesday practicing with masks, gloves and gowns. And — for the first time — they're learning about Ebola as part of the curriculum.

"We're bringing them in, teaching them about Ebola. Haven't done that before," said Juanita Zapata Flint, executive dean over Brookhaven's nursing program. She said it wasn't thought necessary to teach about Ebola in the U.S. — until now.

Student Sarah Hayes said her only fear is for her unborn child.

Brandy Meierhofer said fear is not an issue. "I'm not sure fear is a constructive emotion to have," she said. "Being prepared is the best thing."
But with two Dallas nurses falling ill with Ebola, these students wonder if safety protocols outlined by the Centers for Disease Control are good enough? Is hospital equipment good enough?

"Two nurses still got it. Something is missing," said nursing dean Mark Meyer.
Instructors said students would not be placed with a known Ebola patient, but the problem lies with the unknown.

So they prepare as best they can, and remember why they're here.
"I want to help others," Sarah Hayes said without hesitation.
Student Christine Kozera admits to being leery, but she added this: "We swear an oath. It's part of nursing.

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