The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra has declared the monkeypox outbreak to be a public health emergency. The American Nurses Association (ANA) supports this declaration, which will help deploy focused attention and critical resources to contain the nationwide outbreak. ANA stands ready to help disseminate evidence-based information to both nurses and the public, and to counter misinformation and mitigate stigma about the virus.
Heeding the many lessons learned from COVID-19, ANA calls for swift action and effective collaboration among federal, state, and local officials to ensure nurses and all health care professionals have the highest level of protection and preparation to respond. This must include enough personal protective equipment and medical supplies, as well as clear guidance on case identification, screening, testing protocols, and equitable access to vaccines to provide nondiscriminatory and safe care to infected patients.
For more than two years, nurses have been responding to the relentless COVID-19 pandemic. The prolonged demands of COVID-19 have exacerbated the national nurse staffing crisis and had a negative impact on nurses’ well-being. A widespread outbreak of monkeypox will be yet another stressor on many nurses who say that they continue to feel the strain of COVID-19 on their mental health and within their work environments.
ANA urges nurses, all health care professionals, and the public to follow the guidance of public health officials on the monkeypox outbreak in their community.