Northern California Kaiser nurses demand change in wake of Ebola crisis

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In the wake of the Ebola crisis, Nurses working at Kaiser hospitals in Northern California are demanding that training and protective gear be included in their contracts.

Nurses across the U.S. are asking President Barack Obama to mandate that all hospitals have national standards to prepare for an Ebola outbreak. So far, two nurses working at the Texas hospital where an Ebola patient died have contracted the disease. In the meantime, nurses in Northern California working at Kaiser hospitals are demanding that training and protective gear be included in their contracts.

Kaiser nurses were right in the middle of their contract negotiations when all of this was developing. That's when they decided to open up the dialog and include Ebola.

Kaiser has 21 facilities in Northern California, with 18,000 nurses. Their union is demanding some new safety conditions as part of a new contract.

"When we were at the bargaining table we said hey over the course of this we want to see these put in place," said Kaiser nurse Katy Roemer. "Not only for Ebola, but any kind of infectious disease pandemic that we might be facing."

Fellow Kaiser nurse Diane McClure added, "We need interactive education and not just videos and short training sessions. This is a skill that we have to have and we need proper training."

So far, Kaiser has shown their nurses videos on how to use protective gear. They have also posted educational materials on Ebola. The hospital also says training began on Monday for nurses and staff in the emergency room on how to handle these cases.

In a statement, Kaiser said: "Kaiser Permanente is fully prepared to evaluate and treat suspected and identified cases of Ebola Virus Disease while providing the upmost protection for all of our health-care providers."

But the Kaiser nurses are asking for full-body hazmat suits, proper respirators, and one-on-one training.

In fact, nurses throughout the nation are now following their lead. More than 11,000 of them were joined via a conference call announcing they are reaching out to the president.

"Is for the president to invoke his executive authority to mandate uniform national standards and protocols that all hospitals must follow to provide safety for our patients, our health care workers, and the public," said Roseann Demaro with National Nurses United.

Kaiser nurses are also asking for a supplemental health and life insurance in case they are infected with the virus.

For full coverage on the Ebola virus, click here.
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healthebolau.s. & worldcdccenters for disease controlhospitalmedical emergencyhealth carekaiser permanenteOakland
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