1) What made you decide to become a nurse?
I’ve always been the “momma” in my group of friends so becoming a nurse just made sense. My enneagram personality type is a Number 2, which means I am “The Helper”. Serving and helping others brings me the most joy in life. I was drawn to nursing specifically to work in pediatrics. I wouldn’t work anywhere else, I love and take care of my work kiddos like my own
2) What is your favourite thing about your job?
My absolute favourite thing about my job is working night shift and getting those middle of the night baby cuddles. There is a lot of times where parents will have other kids or obligations at home, so therefore unable to stay overnight. Being the one to respond to their babies in the middle of the night is a privilege and I try to soak in those quite moments. This part of my job is just as important as any medical care that I will provide.
3) What is the most challenging aspect?
Hands down the most challenging aspect of my job trying not to picture my kids in every situation that I am in. Working in pediatrics and dealing with sick kids is not for everyone, that’s for sure! I often times find myself going home upset about a lack of involvement from a parent, family dynamics, devastating diagnoses, and situations that are beyond my control. I’ve learned over the years to try and detach when I walk out those doors, but since having kids it’s become increasingly hard to do.
4) What's one of the most surprising things you've learned in your career that you wish you would've known years ago?
Oh this is a tough question! I think the most surprising thing I’ve learned in my career is that you can’t do everything. At work, at home and in life in general. Delegate, say no, ask for help! This will serve you well in all aspects of your life.
5) if my kids' grandparents live with us, should I send them back to school?
I am very much of the mindset and belief that life must continue on as normally as possible! This virus isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. With that being said, we must establish a new normal. I think it’s extremely important to take all necessary precautions to ensure everyone’s safety. Especially those who are elderly, and immunocompromised. At work, when we have a patient there are “universal precautions” that we implement in order to keep ourselves and our patients safe. Proper hand washing and sanitization are a key part! If these techniques are followed I think it’s perfectly acceptable to send your children back to school, even with grandparents living in the home.
6) should children/teachers with underlying health conditions return to school?
I think that this is very much a personal and case to case decision. I think that it’s very important to educate yourself on the risks related to the diagnosis and make the best decision for yourself and your family! My 2.5 year old daughter has asthma/reactive airway. She is very good about sanitizing her hands, staying socially distanced and wearing her mask in all public spaces. Her condition is also not severe enough for me to worry that she is more susceptible to the virus than any other child. With all of these things considered, I am comfortable with sending her back to preschool. I would advise you to contact your healthcare provider if you or your child have any of the following:
- Bone marrow transplant
- Cancer / receiving cancer treatment
- Solid organ transplant
- Genetic immune deficiencies
- Use corticosteroids or other medicines called immunosuppressants. These lower the body’s ability to fight some infections.
7) How do you educate kids about the pandemic in an age-appropriate way?
I think it’s really important to educate but not instil fear in your children. This applies to all ages! You can do this by keeping information appropriate for their age group and showing confidence in your own practices. A technique we use at work to teach is called “medical play”. This can be translated to teaching about the pandemic by grabbing your kids favourite doll or stuffy and demonstrating practices on the toy. Get your child to take their temperature, sanitize their hands, put a doll sized mask on them. Get them to teach their toy the importance of wearing a mask and sanitizing in public. My daughter loves to tell people (in public!!!) that their nose needs to be in their mask or else it will get sick. Proud mom/nurse moment! I also LOVE books for teaching children. Here are a few great ones:
8) What are 3 actions that someone could take today to strengthen their immune system and reduce their vulnerability to COVID?
- Healthy eating! Mix in lots of healthy options full of antioxidants (berries, kale, spinach, beans)
- Get lots of rest! No, you don’t need to stay awake to watch another episode of Greys Anatomy on Netflix! Go to bed momma.
- Start taking a multivitamin and consider Vitamin C daily.
Continue to follow these important steps also to ensure that you are protected:
- Wash your hands with soap & water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces. Get a spray hand sanitizer! They are so convenient for children.
- If you must leave home, maintain a distance of at least 6 feet
- Avoid large gatherings
- Click and collect is your new best friend for groceries!
- Cover BOTH your mouth and nose with a face covering in public
- Clean AND disinfect high touch surfaces frequently. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
9) What are the most and least effective face masks to wear?
When choosing a face mask please consider the following:
- They must fit snugly against your face
- They must be secured with ties or loops
- They must include multiple layers of fabric (or a pocket for a filter)
- They must allow for breathing without restriction
I really like this image & study to show effectiveness in order of most effective to least effective.
Emma Fischer/Duke University
The study tested 14 different face masks or mask alternatives and one mask material (not shown). Photo Credit: Emma Fischer, Duke University.
10) Are there any hidden health risks associated with a return to school at this time?
There is always hidden health risks in every situation, pandemic or not! It’s important to educate yourself, assess your surroundings and continue to make the best decisions for yourself and your family. Follow the current guidelines, wash your hands, wear your masks and take your vitamins. Last but not least, be kind, non judgement and support each other. The world needs more of that right now!