Nursing Notes

September 28, 2011

Nurses and Pandemic Outbreaks

The bombed remains of automobiles with the bom...

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This will be a different type of post than I usually do.  I don’t have a specific article to post and editorialize today.  Instead, I want to talk about a movie.  I went to see Contagion the other day and, although it is a good movie, there were two different scenes in the movie that really made me upset.  Now, you would figure that a movie about a disease that kills 20% of the Earth’s population would be enough to make me angry, but that wasn’t what did it.

During this movie, there are two separate scenes where nurses are trashed.  You don’t see nurses tending to any of the sick because, “They have all gone on strike because there are no protocols for dealing with this.”

You see doctors tending patients, you see nuns tending patients, you see scientists tending patients.  It seems that everybody wants to be a nurse except the nurses–in this movie.

I was so incensed after the movie that I went right home and Googled for hours and hours to find facts and information about the role of nurses in pandemic outbreaks, about the role of nurses in capturing information regarding pandemics, about the dilemma of nurses during pandemics.

What I found was this.  First, check the Code of Ethics with the state board of nursing.  It seems that nurses have a responsibility to educate, to collect data, to identify problem areas, and to meet any National Health Objectives set forth.

Nurses encounter personal risk when providing care for those with known or unknown communicable or infectious disease.  However, disasters and communicable disease outbreaks call for extraordinary effort from all health personnel, including registered nurses.

So, why then did this movie portray nurses as being unwilling to provide care?  That is really the question isn’t it?  Twice they made a point of saying that there were no nurses to provide care to the sick because the nurses would not come to work (they were on strike).

I don’t know about you, but this was very distressing to me personally and professionally.  I don’t know of any nurse who would purposefully ignore a sick or dying patient.  Nurses frequently are first responders in disasters and in accidents along our nations highways.

I lived in OKC at the time of the bombing.  I know what the nurses working downtown did.  I know first hand how they all as a group responded.  Not one nurse said, “I can’t help because there is no protocol for dealing with this disaster.”  Nurses were there helping the injured, collecting body parts, combing the ruins of the Murrah building for survivors.

Let me know what you think about this, if you can.  I am very upset still and I wanted to get some feedback from other nurses out in the world.

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6 Comments »

  1. I have to agree with you on this Shirley! The fight/flight syndrome kicks in during times like this and I think It’s the nurses that get going and devise the plan to care for the situation at hand. I think for most nurses, the first plan of action would be to quickly evaluate the situation, and then take action.

    Comment by Joyce Harrell — September 28, 2011 @ 7:14 am | Reply

    • Joyce,
      It’s good to hear from you. I am glad you enjoyed this post. Did you see the movie? How’s the health coaching business going?
      Shirley

      Comment by Shirley — September 28, 2011 @ 9:07 am | Reply

  2. […] Nurses and Pandemic Outbreaks (nursingtrends.wordpress.com) […]

    Pingback by The Role of Nurses in Natural Disasters & Pandemics Reviewed « michellegilstrap — September 28, 2011 @ 9:49 am | Reply

  3. Pingback by The Role of Nurses in Natural Disasters & Pandemics Reviewed « michellegilstrap — September 28, 2011 @ 9:49 am
    | Reply

    +1

    Comment by Catlin — September 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm | Reply

  4. Of course nurses have a responsibility to educate, to collect data, to identify problem areas, and to meet any National Health Objectives set forth. I am totally agree with this article post and i realized that nurses are too important.

    Comment by free websites — October 4, 2011 @ 4:16 am | Reply

  5. […] Nurses and Pandemic Outbreaks (nursingtrends.wordpress.com) […]

    Pingback by Welcome to the New & Improved Nursing Notes | The Nursing Notes — October 22, 2011 @ 4:55 pm | Reply


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