April 22, 2020 WCC
Occupation/Title: Patient Care Technician
Place of Work: St. Joseph Mercy Hospital- Ann Arbor
WCC Degree in Progress: Associate Degree in Nursing
Anticipated Graduation: December 2021
How has your job changed?
My job is to help parents ease into life with a newborn. I help to ambulate c-section mothers to the bathroom, take out catheters, help mothers clean themselves, help dads change diapers, I give babies their first baths, and try to help with all the scary and great things that comes with having a baby. During this pandemic, I have to wear a mask for my whole shift. I sometimes am of better service on other units to care for COVID patients. When patients come to me, they do not get to see my radiating, joyful, welcoming smile. Through the uncharted waters of parenthood, where I was a comfort, I am seen as a threat. I myself am not the threat, but the risk of exposing their sweet babies to anyone who may be infected with COVID-19. When we have new mothers who are positive, the whole plan changes. The mothers themselves become that threat. It is our job to help navigate through this time, even though we are trying to find our way as well. Policies seem to change daily, as the entire system finds the best way to deal with this.
How has your life changed?
I am one of the "lucky" ones. I still have a job that I go to. I have an "escape" from home. I know that each time I set foot into the hospital, I am putting my family at risk. I have two young children and a husband who is diabetic at home. I was unknowingly exposed to a positive patient while at work. While I developed no symptoms and was wearing a mask, my family still made the choice to keep our distances. I was unable to help with basic tasks such as bedtime for my kids. My daughter loves to cuddle and I could not sit to watch Frozen for the 100th time with her. My husband picked up a lot of the household duties for a while. We are hugely family oriented. We hang out with aunts and uncles quite often. This is a different time and we have had to miss those we are close with because of it.
What's the hardest thing to deal with?
The hardest thing to deal with is social media. The back and forth, the complaining, the news stories, all the negative that is out there. While I go into work to face this, those at home get to wonder why they have to continue staying home. Those who aren't sick and have not been directly affected by this virus do not see the true nature of it.
One thing you wish the public knew about healthcare workers?
Healthcare workers are not only the techs, nurses, CNAs, and doctors. They are the chefs, the environmental service workers, and the clerks. We all work together and lean on each other.
One thing you wish the public knew about COVID-19?
Regardless of any conspiracy theory you can think of for why this is here, it is here! Staying home and washing your hands is the best way we can fight this for now. COVID-19 will not disappear if we continue to bend the rules to see family, friends, and walk around the grocery store to kill time. Together if we work to flatten the curve, we can give a bit more time to researchers to find a cure or vaccine for this.
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We invite all WCC students and alumni working in healthcare, as a first responder or in other essential work roles to participate in "Our Heroes" by submitting a photograph, name, place of work, WCC program and year of graduation (or expected graduation) to WCC Director of Communications [email protected].