To me, it means, important, vital, valuable, must-have, necessary, can’t be without, and the list goes on. Essential can be things or tasks that are needed daily in our lives. Dealing with the current pandemic, essential can have many different meanings to different people. In my life, I’m an Essential Mommi BUT I’m also an Essential Worker. I’ve been an essential worker for 10 years as a nurse and wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve worked in home health, a detention center, in the NICU and currently working with mothers and babies.
Being an essential worker comes with pros and cons. I work 3 days a week (12-hour shifts which really end up being 13/14 hour days) which is considered full time. I get 4 days off every week to be with my family. I will almost always find a job if needed. Nurses are needed everywhere. I have to show up to work no matter the time of day. During this pandemic with Covid-19, I still have to go to work and take care of my patients. No matter what the weather is like (hurricane, snowstorms), we have to show up to work. I’ve had to leave my family and work during a hurricane quite a few times and stay overnight at the hospital.
- 5:15am-I wake up and get ready for work while my family is still sound asleep.
- 5:45-I’m out the house to try and beat the traffic and I also live 30 mins away from work. I have to be to work by 6:45.
- 6:45-I’ve reached work, clocked in and in a daily, morning meeting until 7 am
- 7:00- I get report (brief history) from the night shift nurse about the patients I’m about to take care of, while walking into each room to introduce myself. (Fun fact~ I’ve worked night shift for 8 years until I had the triplets and finally went to day shift)
- 7:30-8:30 I try to start my day. Gathering patient information, (getting my patients medications if needed or whatever supplies I may need) and go into each patients rooms
- 8:30-10:30/11 (could be longer depending on the patients’ needs) I’m doing full patient care on mothers and newborn babies. (This is done 3x a day, every 4 hours for EACH patient)
- 11:00 Finally I get to sit down and chart on all my patients which is very time-consuming. Oh yeah I still haven’t eaten breakfast but that can wait. I have to finish my charting because the 2nd round of checking on my patient and giving medication starts 4 hours after doing my first assessment which was around 8:30am.
- ALL OF THIS WHILE DOCTORS/PATIENTS/FAMILY MEMBERS/ARE CALLING MY WORK PHONE
- 12:00/12:30- I try to grab a quick bite of something to eat IF I have the time. There are some days I don’t eat because I’m so busy so if I get a little break I try and take it.
- 12:30-3:00-I’m doing my second round of care for my patients and charting.
- 4/4:30-6:00-third time rounding and checking on all my patients to make sure they are doing well, medicated, and finish anything I need to do before the night shift comes in at 6:45 pm.
- 6-7:00-Finishing the last of my charting
- 7:00pm-Give report (brief history) to the oncoming nurse.
On a good day I may leave work around 7:45/8pm, sometimes later depending on patients. If patients are unstable and there is an emergency, my patients come first and we all work together to help them. I reach home around 8:30/9pm after leaving the house at 5:45am. My “12 hour” shift quickly turns in 13/14 hour shifts.
Now that I’m home, I’m exhausted from being on my feet all day, hungry from barely eating at work, I also have a full bladder because, what nurse gets to use the restroom while at work??? (No complaints, just keeping it 100). The moment I step through my front door, I’m no longer Nurse Diane. I’m Mommi. My kids love me, but let’s be honest…they don’t care about what my day was like at work. All they know is Mommi is home and I do owe them all of my attention. My older 2 kids want to tell me about their day at school, while I’m checking homework and trying to eat my dinner at the same time because I have work, the next day. The triplets are usually asleep by 8 pm so they don’t see me for the entire day. They are asleep when I leave to work and asleep when I get home. If I work 2-3 shifts in a row then they don’t see me for a few days. It’s heartbreaking but that’s what comes with the territory of being an essential worker. I sacrifice daily for my patients and family but it has been the most rewarding experience so far and intend to make an impact wherever I am needed.
Right now, we are currently dealing with Covid-19. My world can all turn upside down if I am exposed to a positive COVID patient. What would that mean for you as a mommi? As an essential mommi, I would have to step away from both jobs (mommi and nurse) until I’m well. That’s the side that no one talks about!
A mother’s journey is ever-changing and it is essential even when the world around us is falling apart. No one thought 2020 would bring this much loss, uncertainty and we have barely reached half the year. To each mommi out there you are essential and you are not alone.
Until next time,