Lauren Jordan has been a respiratory therapist at Maine Medical Center for over six years.
Since the coronavirus made its way to Maine, Lauren and her team have been rotating around the clock throughout the hospital—from the ICU all the way to the NICU—anywhere ventilators are operated to keep patients alive. Lauren states that respiratory therapists work within their own protocols assessing, treating, and caring for patients with breathing disorders, but are also vital parts of many interdisciplinary medical teams. Lauren notes that while there are about three million nurses in the United States, there are only about 155,000 respiratory therapists, and this has thrown the specificity and need for their training into the spotlight of the global pandemic.
Currently Lauren is working 12-hour night shifts, with additional overtime, and has been treating COVID-19 positive patients. This week Lauren is heading into a new shift in the ICU and says while it’s very intense to wear a mask the entire time, she states, “We are super lucky. We have N95 masks and when we’re taking care of patients in the ICU we also have full PAPR suits available to us.” PAPR is the acronym for ‘powered air purifying respirator’ and is a type of personal protective equipment used to safeguard healthcare workers against contaminated air.
On a personal note, Lauren has been deeply struggling with the effects of this pandemic. As lives alone and her job puts at high-risk, she isn’t allowed to be with her 68 year old mother, or her partner who lives in Vermont, “Right now my world consists of failed sleep attempts due to increased anxiety and loneliness, rushing to work, dealing with a re-emerging eating disorder, and generally being in constant fear of giving or getting this dangerous virus,” Lauren states. One silver lining for her is her beloved rescue dog, Roxie, who is a huge emotional support to her during this time. Throughout all of this, Lauren hopes that on the other side this crisis we can create a real, lasting change in the world that benefits not just the select few, but everyone.#insidewomenswork is an intimate look inside the pandemic impact on working women.