Moms on the Frontline: Meet Tessa, Nurse Tech & Mom of 4

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During this time of global pandemic, we all have our roll to play. Some of us are homeschooling, working from home, providing food and groceries to the community, delivering mail and packages, first responders, healthcare workers, law enforcement, and so much more. We are so thankful to all of you for doing your part!

We want to particularly highlight some moms working on the frontline. So we’ve created a “Moms on the Frontline Series.” This series will feature the great work these women are doing while encouraging families to do their part by following the suggested guidelines to help stop the spread.

moms on the frontline

From the very bottom of our hearts, we at ABQ Moms Blog are so thankful for the work you are doing for our community and our world!

We admire you, support you, and are thankful for you.

Today meet frontline mom Tessa Smith, nurse tech and mom of four.

Tell us about your job and the work you do each day.

I work at Presbyterian Hospital Downtown on the Adult Progressive Care Unit. It is a telemetry unit and we serve patients often straight from the emergency rooms, or who are getting ready to go into procedures. I do anything from assisting patients with meals, transfers, or the not so glorious job of changing or cleaning patients. We usually see people at their worst, so it’s a very humbling place to be, and so very rewarding to often send them home feeling better and back to whatever “normal” is for them.

How has COVID-19 affected your work?

For a few weeks, we were so much slower than usual. Since our patient population was low, we were gradually being put on “standby” and only called in if the need arose, having to stay available, but no guarantee that we would get our hours. People were afraid to go to the emergency rooms for fear, I suppose, of being exposed to COVID—19. And then when patients did come, they had waited so long that they were often more sick than they should have been. It’s been a crazy dynamic.

Over the last couple of weeks, our COVID-19 rule outs have been increasing. Since we get patients straight from the emergency room, we often don’t know if they are going to be in isolation or not. And since they have to have orders by a physician, the chances are that we could already have been exposed.

How has the global pandemic affected your family?

My husband is a 5th grade teacher in Rio Rancho. So he, like every other dedicated teacher, has had to completely change course and learn the ins and outs of online education, google meetings, and everything else that comes with that. He misses his kids and the rapport he has with them. There is nothing like being physically present for some of those struggling or hurting kids. And I feel for all of them.

My oldest is a senior. So obviously he is missing out on all of these wonderful milestones most of us got to experience. He didn’t care too much for prom. But he misses track and his friends. And he worked so hard to maintain his grades, and there isn’t really any finality to it for any of them.

My middle 2 boys are missing track, and friends that they’ve made at the charter school that they started attending this year also, thankfully they are both staying on top of their online class work and meetings, so that’s been a blessing.

My daughter also started at a charter school this year. But they have been diligent about zoom meetings and keeping in touch, so even though she’s missing all of it terribly, she’s doing fine also.

By the time anyone reads this (I assume,) I will have moved into an RV in our backyard to better protect my family. I take all kinds of precautions, but this is the safest for all of them. We had a trial run yesterday. And even though it was just a day, a scary one, (as I was being ruled out for COVID-19,) it was lonely being so close to my family, but so far away. I don’t anticipate any change from that deep loneliness going forward, even as crazy as they drive me some days!

What it is like serving everyday as a mom on the frontline?

It is a hard balance. My family has always come first for me. I work overnights to be available for them, and now I am having to make choices that feel contrary to that. The weight is almost crippling at times. But it’s something I have felt called to do for a long time, so as much as some would question why I don’t step away, it’s not in me to do so. I hope that they see that regardless of how hard some times may feel, that there is so much hope in it, that God can and is still working.

What acts of kindness or encouragement have you seen during this time?

Presbyterian has been great about providing resources for staff thus far. They are now providing showers for staff and a meal and snacks on our shifts, as well as covering our hours if we get put on standby. Aside from that, several people in our community have offered resources, come together to help feed families, and even provided meals and snacks for hospital staff and other first responders. So many people have shared messages of encouragement and hope and I can only hope that it continues. We could all use some more of it!

What message or encouragement do you have for fellow ABQ moms during this time?

Hug your kids, even on those hard days, when you’re tired and overwhelmed, especially. You need that and so do they. I will miss random hugs from mine. Forgive quickly and ask for it in return. We all need grace.

Tell us about some simple pleasures you enjoy. What’s encouraging you on hard days?

I love creating…art, photography, ceramics, lettering, (working on that one,) that’s my jam. Also, digging into scriptures and seeing how God has gone before me and supplied my every need. He is where I find my peace.

Tessa Smith

Thank you, Tessa (and everyone else on the frontline), for serving our community in your work.

If you know a mom on the frontline you’d like to nominate for this series, send us an email at [email protected] {Please note, we may not be able to feature everyone who is nominated due to an influx of nominations.}

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Vanessa Bush
Vanessa loves her people and loves Albuquerque and has lots to say about both. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, Nate, and they have three kids (Micah, Corban, & Evangeline). Originally from Florida, she’s lived in Albuquerque since 2009 when she and her family relocated to start a new church. Even though she misses wearing flip-flops year-round, New Mexico has truly enchanted her, and the desert feels like home. When she is not chauffeuring children about town, Vanessa works as the Director of Strategy and part-owner of Truly Social Digital Marketing Agency, enjoys volunteering at church, loves watching college football, and drinks a little too much coffee. She is passionate about connecting women with each other, loving her people, and finding the good in her place. Follow her on Instagram @vanessamaebush.