News & Events

Committee on Public Health to Hold Hearing on Ebola Preparedness for Frontline Caregivers and First Responders at a Time When Nurses Across Mass. Report a Lack of Education, Training and Proper Protective Equipment to Respond to an Outbreak

The Hearing Follows the Release of New CDC Guidelines Calling for Better Protective Equipment, More Training and Stronger Protocols for Health Care Workers, Changes Spurred by the Public Outcry from Nurses Across the Country

MNA/NNU nurses will provide testimony on the status of preparation in our state

WHERE:    State House Room A2

WHEN:    Thursday, Oct. 23 at 12 noon

WHO:     The Joint Committee on Public Health is holding a hearing on Ebola Preparedness designed to gather testimony from frontline caregivers and first responders.  MNA/NNU nurses will be on hand to present testimony about the varied levels of preparedness in Massachusetts hospitals.

In the wake of widespread reports by frontline nurses in Massachusetts and across the nation that they lack the education, training, protocols and protective equipment to safely care for potential Ebola patients, the Joint Committee on Public Health is holding a second hearing on Ebola preparedness in the state. Last week, MNA/NNU nurses testified and spoke out about the lack of adequate protective equipment for staff, the lack of uniform protocols for handling Ebola cases, and the need for intense training for nurses based on the protocols used at leading Ebola treatment centers at Emory University and the center in Nebraska. This week, nurses will provide an update on the progress being made, as some hospitals are finally stepping up efforts to develop a plan to deal with Ebola and to improve the protective equipment being provided to nurses. Still, there is no uniform approach by the Massachusetts health care system to deal with an Ebola outbreak, and there is still wide variation in how hospitals are addressing preparedness, even within the same network. The hearing comes a day after the CDC has announced more stringent protocols for training staff and for the type of protective equipment to be used. The new CDC guidelines are now more in line with what the MNA/NNU has been recommending, yet they still leave each hospital with the option of selecting the type of protective equipment they will provide their nurses. The MNA/NNU believes the decision on the type of protective equipment should be at the most optimum level, and that the frontline nurses, who will be at the highest risk in providing the hands on care, should make the decision as to what protective equipment they will be wearing while taking care of these patients — not hospital administrators.