Healthcare workers who are also moms pull double-duty

Busy moms work to find a balance between work and remote learning. Photo courtesy Getty Images

The duties of a parent are often endless — even more so as students return to school. Parents are now tasked with sustaining employment amid the pandemic and helping their children transition to remote learning.

The responsibilities associated with parenting typically include providing sufficient clothing, shelter, food and health care. This list is provisional and many parents are currently obligated to aid teachers as they try to educate students despite the digital divide.

For healthcare professionals like Shareka Wiggins and Gloria Fishburn, this is an added strain on top of  working in high-risk environments. With children in grades second, third and ninth, in both Leon and Gadsden counties. These mothers have found the transition to be challenging to say the least.

“It’s difficult because you have to be at a computer at certain times. If you are a working parent it’s definitely difficult because you have to adjust to working in a full-time job, as well as sitting in front of the computer with your child,” said Fishburn, a registered nurse working at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare.

Parallel to the traditional schedule and curriculum instituted by K-12 schools, students are expected to attend eight hours of virtual classroom instruction with interim breaks for lunch and bathroom use. They are also given digital and paper materials to supplement their online lectures and coursework.

 Yet, even with adequate remote resources, instruction and work instructors and students are still left on an uneven playing field.

“Teachers need to distill their key goals and leverage technology features to meet them. Used well — online chat, discussion forums, replay-able video lessons, online meetings, etc., offer tremendous opportunities to make students more engaged compared to time-strapped classrooms where students hide and few hands shoot up,” said Christine Greenhow, an associate College of Education professor at Michigan State University (MSU), in an MSU today article.

The downside is that this stuff takes work; we know from research that pedagogy matters. Educators cant just scan the textbook, record the lesson, put them online and expect the same or better learning,Greenhow added.

Thus, parents are expected to fill the gaps by providing hands-on assistance and forge traditional classroom settings. Remote instruction,however, for healthcare workers like Wiggins— a licensed practical nurse at Consulate Health Care —is among the least of her worries as she struggles to maintain her familys health while working.

When asked how this stressor has affected her family, she said: It has greatly affected children and I.I actually took an assignment this summer working directly with COVID-19  patients. At first, I was just testing patients for  COVID-19, then I started working directly with COVID-19 patients. My children and my family didnt want anything to do with me when I returned, because they wanted to be sure that I was free of COVID-19. I’m only coming to work and this is a part of the profession I chose and a part of my everyday life,Wiggins said.