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Extensive Ebola training at UIHC as national survey shows U.S. nurses have concerns

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Since the Ebola virus hit the United States, three out of four nurses say their hospitals haven't provided them enough education on the disease, according to a National Nurses United survey.

However medical staff at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics have been preparing since August, even before Ebola cases made it to the U.S.

"Ebola is a very serious infection given the mortality rate," said UIHC Hospital Epidemiologist Loreen Herwaldt. "We want to make sure that people get the appropriate equipment on, get it on correctly and then even more importantly they take it off properly."

She says staff from doctors to housekeeping have been training extensively so they can be better prepared.

They've had emergency room and intensive care drills so their staff knows exactly what to do in case Ebola hits, and the drills and training will be ongoing.

Since August, they were looking at their preparedness plan which included screening tools and isolated places of care.

With more than 1,900 nurses surveyed in 46 states, more than 75 percent said their hospital still hadn't talked to them about handling patients with Ebola, and 85 percent said their hospital hadn't provided any educational training sessions, according to the survey.

Herwaldt says the also have proper protective equipment already in house, including fluid-resistant gowns covering the whole body, inner and outer layers of gloves and leg covers.

"A checklist for how do you set up a room in the emergency department. Checklist for how do you set up a room in the surgical intensive care unit if you have to admit a patient," said Herwaldt.

She says every drill and training session is video recorded so their team is able to see what works and what doesn't.

Herwaldt says as they continue to monitor the outbreaks latest, advice and training will continue to change and will be closely watched.

Eventually, Herwaldt says they will begin sharing their training resources with other hospitals across the state.

"We have prepared a special intranet site where we are putting all of our final documents and we are putting in our disclaimers about these materials were created for the university," said Herwaldt.

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