Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Yale University School of Nursing

First Advisor

Jane Dixon


Background: In October, 2014 the nursing profession gained unprecedented media attention when two nurses became infected with the Ebola virus, and another nurse who cared for Ebola patients defied two gubernatorial quarantine orders. Nurses have traditionally received little media attention, and the nursing profession was largely unprepared for the intense media scrutiny which occurred during the Ebola crisis.

Purpose: For decades nursing scholars have called for a new media image for the nursing profession, yet most of the nursing literature has focused on the profession’s poor media image rather than effective media communication techniques. The purpose of this paper is to review evidence of effective media communication strategies using the Ebola news story as context.

Method: An extensive literature search was conducted including evidence of effective public relations strategies as well as identification of media needs during public health crises. The literature was cited in the context of the Ebola news story, in which various developments were compared with evidence of effective crisis communication strategies.

Discussion: Various communication missteps as well as contradictory press statements fueled media mistrust and intensified news coverage during the Ebola controversy. As central figures in the Ebola news story, nurses were largely unprepared to effectively respond to the media during the crisis.

Conclusion: Nurses could greatly benefit from media training which focuses on effective public health crisis communication techniques as well as identification of media needs during public health crises.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access