COVID-19 is an emerging infectious disease and a pandemic affecting millions of people worldwide. The article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2021) discusses several aspects of COVID-19, such as protection from the virus, prevention of the spread, and recommendations for testing and symptomatic treatment. According to the organization, using a mask, avoiding crowds, and washing hands regularly may stop the dissemination of the infection. The authors further suggest that older adults and patients with pre-existing conditions are at risk of complications and severe COVID-19. The CDC also offers advice on coping with stress through daily exercise, family/friends’ support, and spiritual practices.
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COVID-19 considerably impacted the nursing practice, as it underlined the need for proper hand hygiene, social distancing, and face masks for effective virus protection. The use of antibacterial agents became widespread in hospitals in addition to regular handwashing for the prevention of nosocomial infections (Laureate Education, 2009). My clinical practice has changed due to the outbreak because patient safety, communication, and education became more important than ever. Sabin et al. (2020) define emerging infections as previously unknown or newly identified diseases, which spread locally or globally. Currently, there are about 400 emerging pathogens and 175 species responsible for 75% of all recently discovered diseases (Sabin et al., 2020). Coronaviruses are reoccurring infectious agents, which caused the outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) from 2002 to 2012. However, COVID-19 might be described as emerging since the novel strain of coronavirus first appeared in Wuhan, China, in 2019 and continues to infect people across the globe.
I am certain that nurses play a crucial role in preventing and managing infectious diseases. As a nurse, I witnessed significant health disparities in my community and realized that accessible COVID-19 treatment should be provided for vulnerable populations suffering from emerging infectious diseases. African-American and Hispanic patients are exposed to a disproportionate risk of coronavirus-associated death (Alcendor, 2020). Nursing advocacy for government support of ethnic minorities, elderly patients, and low-income individuals may improve the outcomes and decrease mortality from infectious diseases among the affected populations. Additionally, nurses should educate patients on the importance of hygiene, face masks, and social distancing to protect them from COVID-19 and preventable hospital-acquired infections. Thus, nurses can delay the spread of diseases and improve their patients’ health via active advocacy and education.
Alcendor, D. (2020). Racial disparities-associated COVID-19 mortality among minority populations in the US. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 9(8). Web.
CDC. (2021). Things to know about the COVID-19 pandemic. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2009). Topics in clinical nursing: Emerging and re-emerging infections across the lifespan [Video]. Author.
Sabin, N. S., Calliope, A. S., Simpson, S. V., Arima, H., Ito, H., Nishimura, T., & Yamamoto, T. (2020). Implications of human activities for (re)emerging infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 39(29). Web.
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