Michigan Nurses Association has “grave concerns” about Ebola unpreparedness

Posted at 8:51 PM, Oct 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-17 22:24:40-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- There is "grave concern" from nurses across the state who say they're not prepared to deal with Ebola patients at many hospitals here in Michigan.

John Armelagos, president of the Michigan Nurses Association, says four in five nurses say they are not prepared to care for Ebola patients.

It's an issue Governor Snyder says the state is being vigilant about, but now health care workers are demanding state and national mandates.

In wake of two nurses contracting Ebola in Texas after caring for Thomas Duncan, the Michigan Nurses Association put a survey on their website asking for feedback from nurses in our state.

“What happened in Texas could happen anywhere in our state, it could happen anywhere in our country with the absence of the right equipment and the absence of proper training and proper protocols,” Armelagos said.

He says the results of that survey were of “grave concern,” with almost four of five responding nurses saying their employers have not had any communication with them in regards to Ebola patients.

He says nurses are reporting that the hospitals they work in don`t have the proper equipment or training.

“There needs to be necessary training, necessary drilling so that when you are choosing this equipment, you know how to put it on, putting on this equipment correctly is only one of the elements at protecting yourself,” Armelagos said.

In West Michigan, hospitals say they are working to make sure their employees are prepared.

Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo says they’re training local healthcare workers. Thursday night, officials at Hackley Hospital in Muskegon said they had Ebola training.

Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids said they began their training process in July and have been doing training and education regularly.

Governor Snyder released a statement saying, “Although there is no immediate threat of Ebola in Michigan, the state is vigilantly working with the health and medical community to be prepared to deal with any threat the virus could pose to Michiganders.”

But the president of the Michigan Nurses Association Disagrees says it’s time for Gov. Snyder to step up and enforce new protocols.

“I believe that state mandates in regards to the correct personal protective equipment, in regards to the necessity of drilling and training at each facility, that`s what needs to happen,” he said. “Anything short of that is putting the public at risk.”