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Chief Nursing Officer Reflects On 'Very Challenging Time' For Presbyterian Hospital

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Krystina Martinez
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KERA News
Chief nursing officer Cole Edmonson oversees 1,300 nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

Cole Edmonson has spent the last month facing the biggest challenge of his career. He’s chief nursing officer at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, which means he oversees 1,300 nurses. One of them, Nina Pham, was declared Ebola-free and released today from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. The other, Amber Vinson, has tested negative for the virus but is still being treated in Atlanta.

Edmonson sat down with KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter, for this week’s Friday Conversation.

Interview Highlights: Cole Edmonson on...  

….the last few weeks: “We have most certainly been in a very difficult time, a very challenging time for our organization, for all of those that have been involved in the care and also work at Presbyterian. So we’re really proud though of what we’ve been able to accomplish and what we’ve been able to do during this incredibly challenging time.”

….his reaction to Nina Pham’s diagnosis: “I think the first thing I did was cry. I was really devastated by her diagnosis, just as my colleagues were and everyone that knows and loves Nina. We were all shocked, and we were definitely taken aback by what was really happening and it was almost surreal. We immediately though went into action to take care of our colleague to make sure that she was comfortable and that she had everything that she needed and to also reassure her that we were going to be there for her as her family.”

….what he would say to someone scared to visit Presbyterian: “I would tell them to look at the history of Presbyterian, that we are a safe hospital, that we’re a secure hospital, that we’re a wonderful hospital that’s been in the community for over 50 years.  This is one occurrence in our facility, so we would tell you that it’s safe to be at Presbyterian and you’re secure when you’re there.”

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.
Rick Holter is KERA's vice president of news. He oversees news coverage on all of KERA's platforms – radio, digital and television. Under his leadership, KERA News has earned more than 200 local, regional and national awards, including the station's first two national Edward R. Murrow Awards. He and the KERA News staff were also part of NPR's Ebola-coverage team that won a George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor.