Abstract

Communicating the Changing Role of a Nurse in an Epidemic: The Example of the MERS-CoV Outbreak in Saudi Arabia

Context: In the event of outbreaks of infectious diseases, the role of the nurse changes to adapt to the needs of the patient, their families, and the hospital. Articulating the changes in the nurses’ role is helpful for communicating a plan to decrease the spread of disease and for implementing improved policies, procedures, and supplies. Objective: This article outlines the reflections made by a team of nurses on how roles changed during the recent Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS-CoV) epidemic.

Design: A survey was used to ask nurses about their roles and how they changed asthey worked with MERS-CoV patients during the height of the epidemic in Saudi Arabia.

Participants: The nurse researchers interviewed 9 critical care nurses about their past experiences with MERS-CoV patients.

Main outcome: The nurses identified areas that need to be improved in preparation for future epidemics.

Conclusion: The importance of communication during these complex outbreaks is considered. Much of the experience gleaned from this incident can be used to guide future practice in epidemics of MERS-CoV and other infectious diseases.


Author(s):

Bridget Stirling



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