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Nursing and the Novel Coronavirus

Research & Reviews: Journal of Nursing and Health Sciences is pleased to announce Special issue on “Nursing and the Novel Coronavirus”.

In December 2019, reports emerged of pneumonia clusters of unknown cause at health facilities in Wuhan, China. These cases were linked to a wet animal wholesale market in the region and, after extensive epidemiologic investigation, led to identification of a novel coronavirus (COVID‐19). COVID‐19 is among a family of viruses – called coronaviruses – that can affect both humans and animals. Coronavirus infections are respiratory in nature and can range from the common cold with mild symptoms to more severe infections, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome. The newly identified COVID‐19 infection typically presents as fever, tiredness, fatigue, and dry cough (Huang et al., 2020). However, more severe symptoms such as dyspnoea, diarrhoea, pneumonia, and others have been reported. As of 9 March 2020, cases of COVID‐19 have been reported in countries across the world. The global number of reported cases has surpassed 100,000 with almost 4,000 deaths. China remains the highest risk area but, clearly, COVID‐19 is a global health problem.

Nurses are central to COVID‐19 prevention and response efforts. Nursing is the largest healthcare profession in the US and the world, with approximately 3.8 million nurses in the US and over 20 million nurses worldwide. Nurses are providing front‐line care in the most patient‐facing role to complex COVID‐19 cases that require hospitalization. Individuals who have preexisting health vulnerabilities are at greatest risk for COVID‐19 complications or mortality and nursing resources are critical to managing this population. Public health experts predict that healthcare and hospital resources will become even more urgently needed as COVID‐19 spreads in communities.

A global outbreak requires the active participation of the nursing workforce in clinical care, education and information sharing, public health, and policy. Nurses are already fully engaged in COVID‐19 response and, with appropriate support, will be key players in ending the outbreak.

 

 

  • Jane Haines

    Assistant Professor School of Nursing University of Pittsburgh USA

  • Lisa Y. Foertsch

    Assistant professor School of Nursing University of Pittsburgh United States