MSN, RN, CRNP — Madison Hospital Emergency Department
How has your line of work been affected by COVID-19?
I had a baby in February and was out on maternity leave when COVID was first ramping up. I was scheduled to go back to work May 3 but because the ER census was down due to fears of COVID I was furloughed until about May 25. Since then our volumes have continued to increase. COVID had been fairly well contained in north Alabama until the last few weeks and now we are having higher patient volumes as more people want to get tested and treated for COVID. I was very apprehensive about going back to work. I still change into hospital issued scrubs at work, undress outside when I get home, and always shower before interacting with my children. I’m so nervous I will infect my 4 month old.
Can you describe the current situation in your workplace?
For the last week it’s been busy and our COVID section has been full in the ER. So far none of the nurses or physicians in our department have tested positive (as far as I know) and we have plenty of PPE. I am also working at our fever and flu clinic occasionally, and I saw 70 patients in one 8 hour day last week, which is more than I’ve ever done.
What have the last few weeks been like, in your own words?
To sum it up in one word, troubling. It is upsetting to see masks politicized when it is a simple and easy solution to reducing spread. Recently leaders in our area have suggested our limiting factors wouldn’t be beds or ventilators when things get bad, but that it might be medical personnel. I am increasingly nervous not only for myself on the front line but for my family.
How has your home or personal life been affected by the pandemic?
Several family members have not gotten to meet my new baby. I didn’t get to spend father’s day with my dad. I think working in such a high risk area makes my extended family and friends understandably nervous to spend time with me. I really miss spending time with them.
How did Auburn prepare you for your current role?
When I was in nursing school at Auburn it felt rigorous and strict, but boy was that a blessing in disguise. Auburn’s Nursing program was excellent and prepared me for a career that also turned out to be quite rigorous. Not only was I thoroughly prepared knowledge wise to take on my role as a nurse, I knew how to work hard.
How do you stay positive during these difficult times?
My husband and kids really keep me going. I have a two year old son who always keeps me laughing and sweet new baby to cuddle. Home is a nice retreat when the world seems so crazy. When I can steal some time to exercise it always makes me feel better, especially when I start to feel overwhelmed/anxious.