Superheroes overnight: Mom by day and nurse practitioner by night
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Not only are they doing their job tending to patients and saving lives, but they go home and are also a cook, a parent, a housekeeper, a spouse, an artist, a craftsman, the list goes on.
Well now, those medical workers with children are also temporary teachers.
Homeschooling their children by day, and saving lives by night — like a scenario straight out of a comic book.
Nurses like Kelly Medure, formerly Cataldo from Warren, are rising to the occasion and becoming superheroes overnight and taking on the additional role as educator.
Currently, Medure is a night-shift medical worker living in Pittsburgh with her husband and three children.
Her husband works days, and she works nights — leaving it up to her to make sure the kids’ school work gets done. But, that’s not the only thing she has on her mind.
Medure is a nurse practitioner working in the Emergency Department at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. Every day she goes to work she worries about coming home and possibly infecting her family.
Alleghany county has reported 1,365 COVID-19 cases and 102 deaths due to the coronavirus as of Wednesday. These numbers are a lot higher than what has been reported locally.
Fortunately, Medure says that UPMC put many new procedures and policies in place in preparation for any outbreak.
“We made a lot of changes preparing for this. Our emergency department continually makes changes to try to make it as safe as possible for staff and patients. We divided our Emergency department into different sections as well as the waiting room to try to keep those with fevers and respiratory symptoms separate from other complaints such as injuries. We also now only allow one family member with each child (adult hospitals are different) to decrease exposure with bringing more people in the room.”
But making all of the necessary changes hasn’t been easy.
“Once it hit Pittsburgh, we’ve been constantly changing. Protocols, treatments, testing, our personal protective equipment (PPE) recommendations are changing sometimes daily. As they learn more about the virus, spread, and treatments things change. It’s definitely challenging trying to keep up with everything.”
For instance, now when working in the high-risk area of the ER, they now take patient history over the phone from outside of the room, and try to multitask while in the room with the patient to decrease exposure. The hospital has also been limiting procedures that increase risk of potentially spreading the virus.
They have also implemented a telemedicine program, UPMC Anywhere Care, for pediatric patients. It’s like an urgent care over the phone and is currently staffed by the providers at Children’s ER. This allows them to see patients between ages 0-17 without having them come to the ER. Medure says it has been great for people who live further away but want medical advice and may not necessarily need a complete ER visit.
For the most part, Medure has been happy with the way Alleghany county and surrounding areas have responded to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Prior to Covid becoming a pandemic, we thought it would be more comparable to influenza or the flu. Once it started to hit the US, definitely more concerning as far as quickly spreading and large death rates. Pittsburgh really did well with flattening the curve by initiating the stay in place order early on so we have been pretty lucky so far.”
But according to Medure, if the virus were to spread to small towns, like Warren, the effects could be devastating. One message she wanted to send home was to “take it seriously.”
“Overall this has been a crazy time for us to live in. We’ve definitely never experienced anything like it. It goes to show that we were not as prepared for something like this as we should have been,” said Medure, “It is a virus and most people have done well but we all know someone who is potentially high risk, so think about them when making decisions on exposing yourself. Wear a mask, good hand washing, and don’t go out if you don’t need to. It also spreads fast so in a small town, this could be bad without having enough healthcare workers to treat everyone.”
Throughout the outbreak she has had a lot of emotions.
“Initially I was definitely scared and nervous. There’s a lot of unknown. There wasn’t much availability for testing, so we couldn’t test everyone. It’s also scary coming home and potentially infecting my family. I have not quarantined myself from my immediate family as this has gone on so long and with my job my potential exposure will continue each day I go to work. There’s also frustration with not having enough masks, and other protective equipment.”
But, other than having the addition of helping her kids complete their daily school work, not too much has changed.
Each day, Medure is a mother to Luca, 10, Charlee, 8, and Elliana, 6, and spends her days with them, just like any other day. But the role of a parent nowadays also means you are probably teaching your kids as well to make sure they complete the school year.
But, it’s not all bad.
“It’s actually kind of nice because we’re not as busy without sports and activities. We definitely have more chill time to watch movies and play.”
So far, other than school work, they have been spending a lot of time outside planting flowers, painting the kids’ playhouse, hiking, and riding bikes. Homeschooling doesn’t leave as much time as one would think, but the Medure family is surely making the best of it. Medure has been in Pittsburgh now for almost 21 years. After high school, she attended the University of Pittsburgh and earned her BSN, graduating in 2003. In 2007, she married her husband Anthony and started their family. She went back to school for her Masters for Family Nurse Practitioner at Carlow University and graduated in 2014. She’s been with Children’s Hospital since 2017.
Medure and her family now live in north Pittsburgh, along with their dog, two cats, and two bearded dragons.
For Medure, family time is the best time, and she has been very grateful for this extra time with her kids, but also grateful for everyone else doing their part too, while wearing multiple hats.