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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


From Healthcare Clinics to Ebola Treatment Centers: Nurses Protect Health & Provide Comfort

Author: on behalf of ASPR Nurses
Published Date: 5/6/2015 9:37:00 AM
Category: Observances; Response & Recovery;

During any ordinary day, nurses triage and treat patients, navigate medical bureaucracy and help explain complicated medical issues in terms patients can understand. They manage any number of crises, often simultaneously. Often these incredibly busy people are the ones providing comfort, too. They listen to patients and families who are scared, worried, in pain, or sometimes just grumpy. They touch people’s lives.

Left to right: LCDR Christopher Perdue, MD, LT Jesus “Chuy” Reyna, RN and CAPT Angel “R2”Rivasrivera RN before going into the high risk area.

When a disaster strikes, nurses work even harder to treat patients. Their care, creativity and dedication to service helps save lives when every second counts. They manage chaos and make decisions that keep their patients and their coworkers healthy, safe and alive.

When the Ebola epidemic struck in West Africa, nurses served as a vital part of the health response by providing desperately needed care in some of the most austere conditions imaginable. While Liberia is close to being declared Ebola free, many medical professionals from around the globe continue to work together in West Africa to save lives. Nurses, including nurses from our U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, have been critical in this global response.

One of the nurses involved early in this response was Captain Angel Rivasrivera. He served as part of HHS Ebola Mission to establish a 25-bed medical facility in Monrovia, Liberia, that was used to treat other healthcare workers with suspected, probable or confirmed cases of Ebola. This was the first time that a United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps medical unit had deployed in Monrovia, and they needed processes specific to that operating environment to help keep healthcare personnel safe as they care for patients. For example, what do you do when providing care to highly infectious patients and there is a power outage? Thanks to procedures Captain Rivasrivera’s team helped put in place ahead of time, there was a backup solution ready to go when that happened. As the night charge nurse, he helped train and mentor a multidisciplinary group of officers to work safely in a very unique setting.

He and so many other Public Health Service nurses like him provided the expert care that helped many healthcare workers survive. With the protective actions they put in place, none of the Commissioned Corps officers contracted Ebola. Like other nurses serving in this response, Captain Rivasrivera talked with patients enduring the most terrifying situation of their lives and stayed with a patient in the final moments of life.

Nurses like Captain Rivasrivera make a difference every single day. We hope you’ll join us during National Nurses Week in thanking our Public Health Service nurses and other nurses you know for their incredibly hard work and dedication in disasters and every day.



Appreciated... well done

As a nurse myself I can only thank the brave and extremely courageous nurses who along side others worked their hearts out to stem Ebola. May God reward them Dr. Gerald Amandu Matua
5/7/2015 8:28:08 AM

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