Q&A: Nursing Union Leader Talks Ebola Prep

Cheryl Clark, October 30, 2014

Deborah Burger, co-president of National Nurses United, says hospitals are still unprepared for Ebola and are hoping it just goes away. She told Congress that the federal government should order hospitals to comply with protection guidelines.

This article first appeared in the December 2014 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

 

Trotter

Deborah Burger
Co-President of National Nurses United

Deborah Burger, RN, is co-president of 190,000-member National Nurses United, the influential labor union that has loudly amplified nurses' fears that hospitals are not adequately preparing them for patients with Ebola and are placing healthcare workers in harm's way.

Last Friday, she was a centerpiece in a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing, insisting to lawmakers that hospitals should not be allowed to voluntarily comply with guidelines. Instead, she argued, the government should order it. Burger, who also represents the California Nurses Association, says President Obama should force hospitals to provide optimal protective gear for healthcare workers.

Afterward, in a 50-minute interview, Burger maintained that a lot of hospitals are still unprepared, are wishing Ebola will go away, and hope they won't have to spend much money. The interview was edited for brevity and clarity.

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