Being An Essential Worker as a College Student

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By Tiffany Slechta

When reflecting on the last few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe it is safe to say it was, and still is, very surprising. In its own way, it’s amazing that a world so active and populated can hold silence and restraint. Being a part of this moment in history not only astonishes but worries me as well. Being a sophomore at McPherson College, I was flustered when it was announced that classes would be moved online. Many questions filled the campus and the only replies given were of uncertainty, hope and reassurance. I was worried about my educational and financial situation, for I was paying to attend a private college that would now be online. In a sense, I guess it is safe to say I was a bit frustrated. From all this frustration, I am happy to say my career classified me as an essential employee and has allowed me to continue working. Being a healthcare worker has taught and prepared me for many things in life, but nothing like this. I work at a retirement home as a C.N.A in McPherson, Kan. Here, I not only provide health and healing as a healthcare professional, but provide much comfort and support to my residents as their caregiver. Although we provide much physical health support to our residents, we have found ourselves providing more psychological support lately. From this pandemic, our residents have been denied all social contact with their family and friends. As if that is not enough, they have all been confined to their rooms and must obtain a social distance of 6 feet from each other. While it may be difficult for us to abide by these regulations, I am here to tell you it is worse for them.

With this being said, as a frontline healthcare worker I do believe it is important that others abide the orders to stay home. In the end, I am here to say that one’s need for entertainment will never be more important than a resident’s social needs and mental health. Therefore, we must take other’s needs into consideration before our own.