Friday, September 11, 2020

The Pandemic and the Complexities of Life

This week, many schools started the new academic year with virtual learning -- a situation that leaves many working parents trying to figure out how to work and take care of their children simultaneously. When the coronavirus outbreak led to school closures in the spring, parents had to figure out how to do their jobs while taking on the added roles of teacher, tutor, and at times, IT technician. We learned that managing the education of children without the help of schools is difficult for both parents and their children, especially for special education and elementary school students. 

My life has clearly been affected by the pandemic. At work, there are new issues to deal with that we haven’t encountered before, like the availability of test kits and personal protective equipment. But I have seen some upside in my time out of the hospital. During a typical late summer/early fall, I am at meetings and events at least three nights per week. This year, I am at home on those evenings since events and meetings are all virtual. This is clearly a benefit that allows me to better deal with what is happening at work. And, my children are adults, so I don’t have the added pressure of managing their education in addition to my “day job.” 

This is not the case for many of my GBMC colleagues, especially those who can’t work from home, which includes almost all of our clinicians. Somehow, they must keep “all the balls in the air” while juggling work and childcare responsibilities. And it’s no easy task for those who are able to work from home either. My colleague, Jenny Coldiron, our Vice President for Philanthropy and Marketing and Communications, told me that she was at a virtual meeting with a vendor this week, discussing a virtual event for this winter. During a one-hour meeting, the vendor was interrupted multiple times by her 6-year-old daughter who came into the room to say “Mommy, the computer isn’t working.” 

I understand how these pressures are pushing some to consider leaving the workforce until the pandemic is over. We are already having a difficult time staffing some areas. This has led me to wonder if there is something more that the GBMC HealthCare System can do as an employer that it isn’t already doing. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Please comment below.

Let me end by thanking everyone for your efforts during the pandemic. I especially want to thank my colleagues who are parents of school-age children!

Remembering 9-11
As we remember the terrible tragedy that occurred 19 years ago on September 11 and the brave first responders who showed tremendous heroism in the hours, days and weeks thereafter, please remember to honor those whose lives were lost and to recognize the work of our first responders. When emergencies happen, they always answer the call. Thank you!

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