Working During COVID-19

Times are crazy. This year has been far from normal, and each day new information comes out regarding the COVID-19 virus that is responsible for shutting our country down. Many Americans lost their jobs, and healthcare workers experienced an extreme shortage of staff and supplies. Working as a TNA at Miller’s Merry Manor, I have gotten to experience the shortage in the healthcare field. A few months ago, COVID hit Miller’s very hard. 

Both staff and residents tested positive for COVID-19 every day. As more and more staff tested positive, we began to run out of workers, and we were forced to work short handed for months. Because of this, Miller’s began offering a new class to train aides in a quick manner. After the completion of the class, each person receives the title Temporary Nurse’s Aide (TNA), and can then test to be certified as a Certified Nurse’s Aide (CNA) when the state allows testing again. This program has helped immensely during this pandemic, and has allowed many people who have lost their jobs to begin working again. 

Many residents were sick and our COVID unit grew more and more every day. I was responsible for preparing residents to go downstairs to begin their 10 day quarantine. As I packed a bag of belongings for the resident to take with them, I explained what would happen and calmed any fears they had. Some residents got very sick before going downstairs, whereas others had no symptoms. Some residents never came back from their 10 day quarantine, and their personal items were packed up and sent home, leaving nothing but an empty room. Others greeted me with big smiles as I took them on the elevator and back to their room, or their new room on the third floor. 

During this time, I got to work the isolation unit for half a shift after I tested positive for COVID-19 at work. On October 22, my birthday, I was working my normal shift when my boss found me to inform me that I tested positive for COVID-19.  Although I tested positive, I had no symptoms; therefore,  I was able to finish my shift and work the COVID unit. There are residents of all skill levels on the COVID unit, therefore it makes for an interesting environment. Working the COVID unit was an amazing experience, but the quarantine that came after was not fun. After my shift, I was sent home to never leave for 10 days. These 10 days consisted of Netflix, baking, naps, and TikTok. 

Today, we do not have COVID in the building, and we are working on recovering from the damage suffered. COVID has caused so much loss in nursing homes, and it has taken a toll on staff as well. Everyone is exhausted and just trying to get back on their feet so things can return to normal. We hire more staff each day, but could always use help. We are accepting new admits, and slowly allowing visitation again. The dining rooms have opened back up and more activities are happening. We are finally starting to see the light at the end of this dark tunnel.