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FWIW: “How does an American nurse contract Ebola? With directions like these.”

by Steve Krause on October 15th, 2014

Here’s something I came across online today that seems very much connected to what we’re talking about right now: from the site Vox, “How does an American nurse contract Ebola? With directions like these.” It’s worth looking at if you are curious (and/or worried) about the Ebola crisis and also if you want an answer to the question “when to directions really matter?” The short version is the Center for Disease Control issued some very bad directions to health care professionals about how to properly remove protective equipment. It’s an interesting piece. FWIW.

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  1. Elyse Cawetzka permalink

    Since I am going into healthcare, I found this article/guideline interesting. What amazes me about this is that there seems to be a lot of fill in the blank or open endings. It’s clear that the CDC thought there were open ends too because they came out with the powerpoint slides, however it blows my mind that even with the CDC’s slides, there is still quite a bit of openness. Diseases like ebola are incredibly dangerous and there can’t be any open ends when it comes to PPE. I used to work in a lab where we were exposed to a lot of toxic and potentially life changing things if we didn’t take the correct precautions, so I know the importance of correctly putting on and taking off the PPE. The thing that made me question the instructions for diseases like ebola was the potential exposure to the contaminates every piece of PPE. The gloves are to be taken off first, then the face mask, then the gown, etc…my question is what about the risk your hands now have when taking off all the other PPE.

  2. Melanie Waller permalink

    I too have been there. When I worked in a hospital setting, we had to be fitted for PPE when dealing with patients who were in isolation. I worked in the kitchen and still had to learn all this stuff. I understand how hard it is to follow these kinds of directions. We had to go to all day sessions and learn about isolation patients, wearing protective gear and how to put all this on and take it off correctly. Then there was a session that taught us how to properly wash and clean ourselves and clothes. If any kind of fluid was on our uniform then we had to notify our Infection Control Dept. This class was mandatory and we had to do it every year (kinda like CPR and make sure we knew and understood what and how to do).
    I am surprised that these people in Texas were not given proper showings along with instructions to make sure they knew what to do. Just because they are nurses (Dr., aides, etc.) doesn’t mean they know it all and should be expected to act accordingly without some kind of help.

  3. Carly permalink

    What I noticed in particular about this, was just the wordiness of it. After having read the Tech Writing Handbook, I see exactly what they mean about the “ifs” and “thens.” They really do stick out, and just add unwanted length to these directions.

    They’re the kind of directions you look at and want to skim, because it’s overwhelming how they have them set up. Could be less bullet points, repetitiveness, and words easily.

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