Nurses play many roles on the frontlines of healthcare. This is singularly apparent during a virus outbreak.

There is arguably no more selfless act than that of becoming a nurse. In an article published in, Laura Raines writes: “Woven within our communities are strong, nurturing and selfless people. We call them nurses.”

Nurses are the conduit of care between patient and doctor. They must be quick on their feet (not to mention on their feet all day), be able to calmly adapt to critical and often fluid situations, and, above all, they must be caring.

In any health emergency, especially a fast-moving viral outbreak, nurses working in hospitals, clinics, schools – and sometimes parking lots – take charge at the front, providing care in response to an evolving situation.

The Impact of Nurses During a Healthcare Crisis

Most of us, fortunately, have only ever witnessed a healthcare crisis on television. We can imagine a scene where the nursing staff, in what had been a quiet hospital, is suddenly thrust into the chaos of an oncoming crisis. Art imitates life.

During public health emergencies, from car crashes to pandemics, nurses are among the first responders. In the case of a viral outbreak, they are first on the scene. Within hospitals, clinics, and schools, nurses assess the crisis, coordinate logistics of care, monitor and care for individual patients, and support doctors. They comfort and communicate.

An article entitled “Communicating the Changing Role of a Nurse in an Epidemic” published in the Journal of Healthcare Communications highlights this vital link of communication:

“Effective communication is the key to (a) successful healthcare team. Nurses communicate with physicians, nutritionists, physiotherapists, patients, families, and many others. Communication takes place through body language, touch, listening, writing, reading and if necessary by speaking.”

In other words, from doctors and other practitioners to patients and their families, it is nurses to whom we turn in the midst of a healthcare crisis.

Nurses Lead the Charge Against Coronavirus

Describing the essential nature of how nurses take charge as a virus outbreak ripples through a community, the Journal of Healthcare Communication article states:

“In the event of outbreaks of infectious diseases, the role of the nurse changes to adapt to the needs of the patient, their families, and the hospital.”

The COVID-19 pandemic exemplifies this terse description in historic ways. The alarming spread of the Novel Coronavirus and uncertain response in the face of this unknown threat is anchored by nurses responding as best they can in extremely difficult circumstances.

Putting their own health at risk, nurses offer care to a frightened world when it’s needed most. One of the most poignant messages from the Coronavirus pandemic is the real heroism of nurses around the world, stepping unquestioningly into their roles as healthcare coordinators

Nurses on the Frontlines

In light of the work nurses do every day, let alone during a global-scale health emergency, it is clear that we need more people to answer the call. For those who are and ready to become a nurse or advance their careers, it is the singular mission of institutions like Houston Christian University to make that calling a reality. Their online nursing degree programs give aspiring and advancing nurses the theoretical grounding, real-world experience, and one-on-one support they need.

Nurses and Infection Control

In our next article, we’ll examine the importance of infection-control protocols for nurses. The American Nurses Association says that “infection prevention and control is one of the first topics introduced in nursing programs.”

Introduction and theoretical understanding are one thing, but the ANA goes on to say that these basic principles are often “lost or forgotten.” This emphasizes the many ways nurses and nursing students need the support of world-class, ongoing training and degree programs.

When professional nurses have the flexibility to maintain and advance their skills, they are more ready to deal with the next health crisis.

Likewise for aspiring nurses. Beginning their journey immersed in a nursing college, they gain the knowledge, experience, and relationships they’ll use throughout their career. With that, nurses are better prepared to join the ranks of their nursing and healthcare colleagues. Those people “woven into the community” who are on the frontlines, keeping us safe and healthy.