Emory School of Nursing alumni fight Ebola

Emory NursingDecember 12, 2014
The medical team and staff at Emory University Hospital's Serious Communicable Disease Unit, including the three nursing school alumni, played an integral, history-making role in the fight to reduce the spread of the Ebola virus.

Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing alumni Crystal Johnson, RN, Laura Mitchell, RN, and Jason Slabach, RN, were among the medical team members treating Ebola patients at Emory University Hospital's Serious Communicable Disease Unit.  Recently, TIME magazine honored all health care professionals fighting the Ebola outbreak as the 2014 'Person of the Year.'

The 2014 Ebola outbreak is now deemed the biggest outbreak in the history of the virus.  Doctors, nurses, scientists and caregivers globally began relief and aid efforts both locally and abroad to stop the spread of the virus. The medical team and staff at Emory University Hospital's Serious Communicable Disease Unit, including the three nursing school alumni, played an integral, history-making role in the fight to reduce the spread of the Ebola virus.

When Emory received American medical workers both abroad and locally who had contracted the Ebola virus while providing care for infected patients, the nurses were on the front line. They attribute their successful treatment of patients to their training from the School of Nursing.

"We had to go back to our training of the nursing process," says Johnson. "We had to look at patients as a whole, evaluate their needs, be everything for them, and get them back to their families."

The Emory nursing team and physicians successfully treated and released four Ebola patients, and though care was a main priority, so was the safety of the health care team providing treatment.

"We were committed to safely caring for our patients," says Mitchell. "I kept in mind that Emory would not put their nurses at risk."

The training, professionalism, care and commitment of all health care workers fighting the Ebola epidemic is why TIME magazine has honored them all with this special recognition.

"I was definitely happy to be able to play a role in the health care team," says Slabach. "It was a privilege and an honor to not only be a part of history, but to know these patients.  We all became friends."