Working During a Global Pandemic [OP-ED]

Amber Edwards | Contributing Writer

I am an ODU student and I work in a nursing home during the COVID-19 Crisis.

We could not imagine this very frantic and scary season in our days on Earth. Every day, we look at the news on our TV and/or on our phone and continue to worry. We take it day-by-day to try to keep a positive attitude. For me, it takes more dedication and determination to keep a positive mind and attitude when working at a nursing home. 

I started working for a local nursing home in Chesapeake in December 2019. It was different for me but a great difference from the previous job I had. I would come into work with a smile on my face and leave with gratitude because the residents are funny, and they lift my spirit. Everything was according to plan for me. I decided that 2020 is the year of positivity and so many great blessings. Nevertheless, the month of March, that changed instantly. 

It started with minor restrictions. The first was not letting visitors, volunteers, and outside event entertainers come in until further notice including all of the outings on Wednesdays was canceled. Soon after, activities are held in the area where the residents reside. If it isn’t held in their residency, the Residents can’t go and participate. Now, residents are not to leave their room for any reason unless it's therapy.  The activities department was practicing social distancing. No more than eight people and they were six feet apart. But the more the restrictions became stricter, for the Residents and staff safety, the anxiety became too much to bear. 

This is the scariest part. When I began working here, it was full of laughter and excitement. I could not wait for the next activity until the next day I work. Now, it is full of anxiety and fear because we, residents and staff, are unaware of what will happen next. I feel I am in the army. Every day I check my temperature. Wipe the soles from my shoes, put my purse in a bag, and can’t bring a lunch. This is now “normal” until something changed. 

However, I realize this is not my “normal” life. With all of the misinformation and miscommunication from media, coworkers, and family, it can be overwhelming. Too much information can really take a hold on me where I start to feel lonely and unworthy as a friend, a sibling, and a daughter.

I find a spot to meditate and pray. I pray to God that we are all healed from this pandemic and while we are in the house, we focus on our personal reflection and continue to find faith through this crisis. My faith grew bigger since this happened because I had the revelation that the reason why this is happening is because of what has happened in our country. The mass shootings, discrimination, police brutality, and many harmful and unjustified situations that have occurred. We, as a country, didn’t know why that happened. We do not know why this is happening now.

Therefore, I pray to keep me sane. I pray to keep me happy. I pray to make me smile. I realize when I come to work, I need to make the residents happy for their sanity. I choose to come to work, not to get out of the house, but to uplift the spirits of the people around me. That effect on people makes my heart complete. I now leave with happiness, joy, and continue with my normal life.