Friday, 7 October 2016

Caring for ebola patients

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

Ebola is not new and appeared in the pages of JAN over a decade ago in an article by Locsin and Matua (2002).  However, what is new is the more recent extent to which it spread across some parts of Africa and the ensuing death toll.  Of course, it 'hit the headlines' in the UK following the unfortunate case of the 'ebola nurse' Pauline Cafferkey. Ebola has resurfaced in the pages of JAN in a study from Sweden by Andertun et al. (2016) titled: 'Ebola virus disease: caring for patients in Sierra Leone – a qualitative study' and published in JAN. 

The aim of the study was to: 'describe Norwegian healthcare staffs’ experiences of participating in care of patients with Ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone'.  Eight nurses and one doctor were interviewed and the results provided some insight into the experience of these health professionals. Various themes came across about conquering fears and taking safety precautions and living with death.  The authors concluded: 'Our findings revealed that Ebola workers were relying highly on safety and used strategies to minimize risks of contagion. Safe care was central in working with Ebola patients, but the caring relation was challenged. They were constantly reminded of death and had to defeat their fears, but nevertheless they found their experiences of the hazardous work as meaningful and an important motivator.'

You can listen to this as a podcast


ANDERTUN S., HÖRNSTEN A. & HAJDAREVIC S. (2016) Ebola virus disease: caring for patients in Sierra Leone – a qualitative study. Journal of Advanced Nursing doi: 10.1111/jan.13167

Locsin, R. C. and Matua, A. G. (2002) The lived experience of waiting-to-know: Ebola at Mbarara, Uganda – hoping for life, anticipating death. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 37: 173–181. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2648.2002.02069.x

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