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The Aids Epidemic in San Francisco: The Medical Response 1981-1984 (Classic Reprint)

The Aids Epidemic in San Francisco: The Medical Response 1981-1984 (Classic Reprint)

ISBN: 9781330994658
Publisher: Forgotten Books
Publication Date: 2017-04-20
Number of pages: 306
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Excerpt from The Aids Epidemic in San Francisco: The Medical Response 1981-1984

Fortunately, some nurses rose above their fears and volunteered on a regular basis to provide the care and support required to meet the needs of these very ill and frequently terminal patients. Nurses also participated in community activities and organizations that were established to respond to this new disease. They creatively utilized the skills and expertise developed in caring for patients/clients intraditional settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and homes, to establish programs in community-based organizations. I saw nurses training volunteers to provide practical and emotional support, educating their peers and the public about the disease, advocating for compassion and resources, working with families impacted by this disease, and participating in policy development and political action that was vital to enhancing community response to this growing epidemic. Some of these nurses were also members of the at-risk community; others had family or friends as members of the gay community, and others became involved as a response to the hysteria and fears within the health care environment. But all demonstrated core values of nursing compassion and care.

Individual nurses, such as Cliff Morrison, Helen Schietinger, Gary Carr, and others, did not hesitate to become proactive, not only in care, but also in advocacy. These nurses did not wait for the nursing organizations to initiate a response to the epidemic. In fact, it was individual nurses who pressured and guided the nursing associations to develop position statements, to provide testimony before legislative bodies, and to mount positive responses concerning the epidemic, educating nurses as well as the public. Traditional nursing organizations, like traditional medical organizations, were not only hesitant, but resistant to becoming aggressively involved in the epidemic. It was a few nurses within the California Nurses Association who provided much of the expertise in education and training that formed the foundation of a very successful statewide education and training program for providers funded by the state for ten years. And it was these nurses who also lobbied for funds and provided expert testimony on numerous pieces of state legislation. These California nurses also provided leadership at the national level with the American Nurses Association on federal legislation. Some of these nurses provided leadership in clinical settings as well.

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