Chronic Illness  
 November 15, 2014

Love in the Time of Ebola

As the Ebola outbreak continues to spread, and the number of healthcare workers directly involved continues to increase, my awareness of the very real possibility of coming in direct contact with this virus and a nurse’s role in terms of managing it continues to grow. Working in one of the busiest emergency rooms in NYC with heavy traffic from many of the major international airports, coupled with the news of various American healthcare workers contracting the disease, I would be lying if I said the Ebola virus hype did not present me with my own set of fears. Given the countless unknowns that go along with this virus, fear of it is more than understandable. While the unknown can be frightening, it was incredibly helpful for me to remember that as a society we are still learning about the prognosis and treatment of this disease here in America.

As we gain more experience with managing this disease, we continue to see the immense benefit of early detection, enhanced medical technology, prevention by treatment, and proper sanitation conditions conducive to managing this disease. The article “3­ Year ­Old ­Ebola Survivor Proposes to Nurse” really moved me in a way that made me think so deeply about the bigger picture. It strengthened my understanding that despite the fear and unknown surrounding this disease, these patients require and deserve a significant amount of care, and that stopping the spread of Ebola at it’s root is the best way to prevent it’s migration to other countries, including America. The article so vividly depicts just how much of an impact nurses can have on the overall well­ being of patients. Kallon, the nurse who cared for the boy (Ibrahim), similar to all of the healthcare workers recently portrayed in the media after acquiring the Ebola virus, who so selflessly put themselves at risk to care for patients with this potentially fatal disease. These doctors and nurses made it so their patients would not have to suffer alone while also playing a huge role in further preventing it’s spread. All three of these nurses are inspiring examples of how compassion and altruism, and operating from fact rather than fear, are essential to the well being of humanity. Kallon makes it so the boy feels well cared for and loved throughout his stay at the hospital. She lifts his spirits, improving his mentality and giving him hope. She seemingly takes on the role of a parent when the boy loses his mother and is unable to see his father.

She provides him with safety and security at a time when both of these things seem far away. She gives him the mental strength to fight this disease through her love and kindness. As nurses we do far more than deal with disease. We care for the people behind the disease. Kallon’s persona exemplifies that of an excellent nurse. She did not just give care by working to improve symptoms but also provided them emotional comfort at a time of suffering. Ibrahim’s heartwarming proposal goes to show what a special connection he felt to this nurse and how well he seems to be doing after surviving the Ebola virus. This article clearly articulates the importance of excellent nursing care and shows the true essence of the healthcare worker for overall prosperity.