Background: The African viral haemorrhagic fevers have in recent years been causing large outbreaks with high mortality rates and elevated risks of global spread. These outbreaks puts the Departments of Infectious diseases, both national and international, on high demand when caring for this patient group, in a patient- and staff-safe manner. The aim of the study was to describe nurses perceived ability and knowledge about caring for patients with suspected or verified African viral haemorrhagic fever at Departments of Infectious diseases in Sweden.
Method: A web survey was conducted to collect data. The results are presented through a descriptive design. Participants were registered nurses working in infectious diseases clinics; 216 survey results were registered.
Results: Registered Nurses in Swedish Departments of Infectious diseases clinics witnessed about having limited knowledge about the African haemorrhagic fevers. They were also experiencing limited or very limited knowledge about some practical procedures, like drawing blood samples to confirm the infection. The majority of the participants had not been given theoretical education, nor had been given the opportunity to sufficiently practice using personal protective equipment at their place of work. The nurses witnessed about fear for their own safety while caring for this group of patients.
Conclusion: The participants perceived about fear, both limited theoretical and practical knowledge and training about caring for patients with African haemorrhagic fever, even though they had worked with infectious diseases for several years. There is a need for implementation of measures to ensure the healthcare professionals' safety and to prevent them from being infected with potentially lethal infections. It also poses a risk for the patient in the absence of specific nursing care, which can lead to an increased critical disease state.