Despite a report that 75 percent of nurses say hospitals are unprepared to treat Ebola, Rady Children’s Hospital is ramping up its training.
A Texas nurse has tested positive for Ebola after caring for the first patient in the United States diagnosed with the virus, leading to concern among some nurses.
Nurse Lisa McDonough took a NBC 7 crew inside the hospital’s one-room containment zone on Monday and was sure to suit up in protective gear showing how hospital staff would treat someone with the virus.
One of the first questions that hospital staffer ask is about travel, said Michelle Brenholdt, director of the hospital’s emergency department.
“The travel question has always been part of our screening, but instead of being fourth or fifth, now it’s the first question we ask so we can appropriately triage those patients," she said.
Carts filled with protective gear are now stationed at critical areas throughout the hospital. Since Thursday there have been four Ebola drills conducted at Rady, Brenholdt said.
“The key is preparation. Knowledge is power -- making sure staff is knowledgeable and aware of what steps to take is we have a patient suspected of Ebola,” she said.
Not all area hospitals are as prepared.
Deborah Kennard, a San Diego nurse, took part in National Nurses United's survey on Ebola preparations.
While she didn’t want to disclose what hospitals she works for, she was one of the three out of four nurses in the survey who said their hospital hadn't provided sufficient education on Ebola.
“My concern is are we ready?” asked Kennard. “We can be,” she said. It’s just the right equipment and the right training. We can be.”
At Scripps hospitals, officials say they're upgrading personal protection gear and re-training employees on how to use it.
Sharp officials say they’ve sent memos to staff about their policy and educational efforts, and training is already underway this week for some key staffers.
Dr. Wilma Wooten with the county health department said area hospitals do have personal protection gear and isolation areas for patients.
Staff members are also asking questions about travel history to anyone who has symptoms similar to Ebola.