My name is Rona Ayam . I am a nurse working at St. Mary’s hospital, Montreal, Canada. I had to return to work from my maternity leave in the midst of pandemic. It was end of March 2020. This was not an easy decision. My husband was worried about my safety as there was shortage of personal protective equipment in the health care setting, but also, he was worried about his father’s health and so I was. My father in law lives with me. He has chronic health condition such as diabetes, hypertension and Heart Problem. So, my husband asked me to leave my job as I am risking my family’s health by returning to work. The pandemic created conflict in our relationships.
I explained to him that I understand his concerns, but nursing is not just a job for me. It is my profession and it is my identity. I have responsibilities toward it same as I have responsibility for my family. So, I will do everything possible to keep us safe. It is not the right choice to leave nursing where there is already shortage of nurses.
I had to put mask while cooking and keep physical distance from my father in law. I used a separate bathroom to take shower every day coming back from work. I felt hesitant to kiss or hug my 18 months daughter who was running to me when I got back from work. It kept me awake at night thinking of what if my father in law get the virus and cause severe complication to him? Everyone will consider me responsible for it. It was a toughest time of my life where I had trouble in maintaining vital balance between my personal and professional life, but thankfully my father in law is doing well so far. It took my family a while to understand my perspectives.