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Mom-Daughter Nurse Team Vs. COVID-19

Mary Beth and Kelly Patterson, a mother-daughter nursing duo on the COVID-19 front lines, greet each other between shifts.

Though she'd only been retired for 15 months, Mary Beth Patterson didn't hesitate to jump into the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic in March. She left a comfortable life in New Hampshire, where she and her husband, Steve, had relocated, to return to Long Island to pitch in at Stony Brook University Hospital, where she'd spent the last 12 years of her career as a nurse.

For Mary Beth, 61, coming out of retirement to fight the COVID-19 crisis was a chance to do a job she loves. It was also an opportunity to work at the same hospital where her daughter, Kelly Patterson, 27, is a nurse.

So on March 25, Mary Beth put on her scrubs and reported for duty at the hospital, where she and Kelly form a rare mother-daughter nursing duo. Mary Beth was so motivated to help her nursing colleagues that she decided to join the battle before New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an impassioned plea, asking medical professionals nationwide to "enlist" in the state's effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

“I just love to take care of patients, I love being a nurse,” Mary Beth says. “I wouldn’t have retired from nursing if I hadn’t moved to New Hampshire. I was feeling a void in my life because I wasn’t working as a nurse. Now that I’m down here, working, I think that’s what keeps my heart pumping.”

Also, she adds: “I just felt compelled to come back to work and be alongside my daughter during this pandemic."

Initially, Kelly was apprehensive when she learned that her mom was going to become a colleague in the middle of the pandemic.

“She texted me,” Kelly recalls. “I was like, ‘No, that’s not a good idea.’ I work in the intensive care unit, so I’d seen what COVID can do to the body, and my mom’s older (which is a risk factor).”

It didn’t take long for Kelly to come around. “Now, I’m happy she’s down here,” she says. “I know she’s smart, and at Stony Brook we’ve always been protected," without any "issue with (not having enough) personal protective equipment.”

Mary Beth has been a nurse since 1981, and worked for 12 years at SBUH before she retired. She and her daughter don’t work together directly; Kelly, who started out as a cardiothoracic intermediate care nurse, is now a cardiothoracic intensive care nurse. Mary Beth, meanwhile, works in a cardiac unit, though she’s been floating to other floors as needed because of COVID-19. She plans on working at the hospital as long as necessary.

Kelly joined SBUH as a nurse in March 2018. She started in the cardiothoracic ICU and now works in the cardiovascular ICU.

“We don’t work alongside each other but she’s passed along wisdom about the emotional aspect of the job, caring for patients and being compassionate,” Kelly says. “She’s taught me a few (nursing) tricks here and there, but mostly she’s passed along experience on how to treat patients and co-workers.”

Mary Beth and Kelly often work different shifts; the older Patterson is typically on during daytime, while her daughter pulls night duty. At the beginning and end of every shift, Kelly stops by her mom's unit to greet her.

Kelly and Mary Beth Patterson on a zip line adventure at Sunapee Mountain Resort in New Hampshire.

Kelly also sees Mary Beth at the family home, about 5 minutes from the hospital. Mary Beth and Steve haven’t sold it, so she lives there for now. Kelly, who has her own home in a nearby town, often comes by to exercise in the garage.

Being able to spend time with her mother provides some comfort while she’s confronting the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You’re seeing death almost every shift,” Kelly says. “It’s not a soothing, comfortable death. They’re not accompanied by their loved ones, not able to see them or talk to them. It’s very sad.” Mary Beth shares her daughter’s empathy regarding the inability of some patients to see family members.

She recently was treating an older woman (not a COVID-19 patient) whose daughter wasn’t able to visit her. (With rare exception, hospital officials aren’t allowing family visits, to stop the spread of the coronavirus.) Mary Beth arranged a FaceTime call between the patient and her daughter.

“She smiled,” Mary Beth recalls. “She’d been anxious because she’d just gotten out of a procedure. When she saw and talked to her daughter, she started to relax.”

On Mother's Day, Mary Beth and Kelly started the morning by working out in the garage of the family home, which contains exercise equipment. Then they had a breakfast of bagels, lox and cream cheese.

"I'm thankful every day that I get to call her my mom and have her here with me so she's not only able to support me but we are able to support each other," Kelly says.

Original article by U.S. News & World Report.


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For those of you interested in learning more about, COVID-19 Pedagogy authors Maureen Sullivan & Pamela Clark have written the several courses:

COVID-19: A Healthcare Pandemic

The purpose of this educational offering is to familiarize the healthcare professional with the issues surrounding COVID-19, a coronavirus that is currently causing a healthcare pandemic. This novel or new coronavirus was identified last year (2019), and is currently causing increasing numbers of illness and death worldwide. As this viral infection takes a financial, medical, and emotional toll on the worldwide population, it is imperative that all healthcare workers have a basic understanding of the virus, its symptoms, and transmission, and most importantly, what measures can be taken to lower the risk of infection in all areas of work and home.

COVID-19: A Healthcare Pandemic for Post Acute Care

The purpose of this educational offering is to familiarize the healthcare professional with the issues surrounding COVID-19, a coronavirus that is currently causing a healthcare pandemic. This novel or new coronavirus was identified in 2019, and is currently causing illness and death worldwide. As this viral infection takes a financial, medical, and emotional toll on the worldwide population, it is imperative that all healthcare workers have a basic understanding of the virus, its symptoms, and transmission, and most importantly, what measures can be taken to lower the risk of infection in all areas of work and home. The Post Acute Care sector cares for the most vulnerable population and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has specific guidelines for facilities to follow. This course will discuss current treatment options, basic healthcare laws as they relate to public health emergencies, healthcare provider burnout and moral injury as the pandemic persists.

The Use of Monoclonal Antibodies Against COVID-19

Effective treatments are desperately needed in the short to midterm to prevent serious complications and death from the disease. Monoclonal antibodies are currently available to help meet that need but too few people, both health care professionals and the general public, know about this therapy. This course has been designed to provide the conceptual and operational knowledge to both promote this intervention and to educate the healthcare professional how to administer these medications safely and effectively. 

For healthcare professionals wanting to learn more, take a look at our entire catalog on infusion continuing education courses! Click here to access the largest selection of infusion continuing education courses offered online, including discounted course packages and membership option!

Pedagogy's courses are available for purchase by the individual or facility. For individuals, register with us to create your log in and password, click on the course title of interest and then click the Buy Now button. For a complete listing of all our online continuing education courses click here.

For facilities or institutions that would like to purchase education for their entire staff, email sales@pedagogy-inc.com and let us know the course(s) of interest and how many staff members you need to provide education for, and we will be happy to send you a price quote.

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