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As a nurse or doctor, how would you handle a crisis, such as any pandemic outbreak?

I'm a Retired registered Xray technologist. I'm not on the front lines. I have worked in a hospital with Isolation patients and we had to do contamination precautions. Pandemic is a whole different ball game. I hope a nurse or doctor can provide your reply. Look below in the purple bar, there's a scholarship offer by July 31. Laraine Deutsch

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5 answers

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Estelle’s Answer

Fortunately, hospitals and clinics help doctors handle the pandemic by setting rules and providing personal protective equipment. I think one of the biggest challenges is just getting patients and families to understand the absolute importance of the simple rules of social distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing. These easy steps make a huge impact in controlling spread of disease. I think educating people instead of confronting or lecturing is much more effective in changing their behaviors. Also, remember that the doctors have the hospitals backing them up when it comes to these new rules such as no visitor policies.
In my own office, we require face masks as required by law, as if patients feel ill before being seen, and have visitors wait in their cars instead of the waiting rooms. In the end, my office is quieter and more private, so patients actually like it better.

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Joseph’s Answer

The keywords are absolute precaution or care.

Hi Joseph, can you elaborate more on this? What does precaution/care look like in this field? Gurpreet Lally

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Rahul’s Answer

Would continue to be honest with myself about the situation around me and make sure that those close to me practice all necesary precautions. Have not been given the opportunity to work on the frontline, up until now. Continue to engage with patients to the extent that my current role permits, while trying to stay true to my academic pursuits.

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Philomena’s Answer

During a pandemic, health workers will be out there working but they can also educate people about this pandemic. In your neighborhood you can educate people on how to prevent themselves from getting infected. Also you can use social media platform to educate those on social media. One important thing is you should know and practice precautionary measures and educate pple on how to take precaution as well.

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Suzanne’s Answer

Hi Clinton,

This is Sue and I am a retired oncology nurse. I am also a licensed public health nurse. I was working in clinical research during the AIDS pandemic back in the 1980's and 1990's. As clinicians, we wondered how we would manage if HIV would become "airborne". The very thought of this made our heads hurt. We were unsure how the public would manage such a crisis. It was hard enough educating the public on how to prevent the spread of HIV.

But here we are today. History has already taught us that turning a medical crisis into political theater spells failure. It is helpful to review all the great literature written about past pandemics. So, with the current state of our Nation, National politics and the rapid growth of scientific understanding of SARs-COv-2 (COVID19), these are my guiding public health principles:

1. Support local and state public health department officials. Listen to what they are learning about this new disease.
2. Treat every other person you encounter as someone who can transmit the virus to you. Wear a mask.
3. Treat yourself as someone who could give the virus to someone else. Wear a mask.
4. Limit all public contacts to the degree possible. If you work, make sure you adhere to safe practices (mask, washing hands, distancing).
5. If you are a front line worker (police, fire, essential services, MD, nurse, hospital worker) BE VIGILANT. Know how to use PPE correctly. Wash hands more often than you think necessary.
6. As a citizen, contact local, state and national leaders to ensure you need for them to take appropriate measures to keep your cities and states safe.
7. Avoid all non-essential travel. Keep things local for the next several months.
8. Students and teachers must ensure that the learning environment is safe and equal for all. It is well known that schools are disease amplifiers. Online learning can be very successful as a stop-gap. Some learners will need face-to-face education which can be done selectively and safely. Government leaders need to support the health and wellbeing as well as learning needs of all students.
9. Demonstrate kindness, understanding, compassion, and love to your friends, families and strangers. This is a hard time.
10. Oh, and wash your hands.. a lot. Beaucoup.

When I was a front line worker, I wore masks and gloves when handling potentially infectious substances. I treated all body fluids as possibly infectious. I washed my hands excessively. But as HIV transmits very differently, I could safely hug my patients, hold their hands and be present with them without wearing PPE.

During the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak, we wore N95 masks when dealing with patients suspected of being ill. We de-contaminated clinic rooms once the visit was completed. Patients infected with H1N1 and requiring hospitalization, were placed in negative pressure isolation rooms. Again, we washed our hands like crazy.

We have a choice: we can all participate in reducing the spread of COVID19. In this respect, we are all together, working on the front lines of a crisis. The next few months are pivotal. They will not be easy. Science is advancing and lightning speed. We may even have a vaccine by the start of next year. We must support each others physical and mental well being. Kindness and compassion are needed.

This is how I survived the HIV pandemic: we loved our patients and they loved us in return. I was working in the largest AIDS clinic in the United States. We had all of the newest drugs and clinical trials and saw many hundreds of patients a week. We actually worked alongside Dr. Fauci and Dr. Salk!!

In one year, over 500 of my patients died. I cannot tell you what this did to us mentally and emotionally. But, there was no shortage of kindness, compassion, and love. This is how one copes with a crisis. Does this sound all gooey and mushy? It isn't. This is love that has a backbone of steel. Love that can stare down the barrel of death. Love that doctors and nurses today are demonstrating every day when they gown and mask up and go into the battleground called the emergency room.

Here is some information on the 1918 pandemic:


I am wishing you all the best and all the strength needed during this time,

Sue, RN, MSN

Sue, I found your contribution excellent. Please keep it up. Joseph Anie