Robin Busiek RN joined us at the height of the pandemic and has been invaluable with doing covid screenings and as part of the nurse response team for Moderna. She is currently helping to set up an occ health clinic for Moderna in Cambridge.
Here is Robin’s story:
I graduated from Boston University School of Nursing 1986. I worked mostly oncology over the years, which I loved. It was a mercy job. Ultimately the only thing you had for the patient population I worked with was yourself. There were no miracle cures, (we tried) but very few people went home. We learned to lay them down gently, and comfort their families.
When I was trying to get pregnant, the fertility people told me to get a day job, that I might have better luck. I had been working rotating day shifts and overnight shifts. Six months into a job as a visiting nurse I did get pregnant. I had saved enough time off to take almost 3 months off when my first son was born. I went back to work and two years after the first, my second child was born. This time I could only take off about 6 weeks, so I used to go see a few patients, come home and nurse the baby and go back out and see a few more. It made for long days but it worked for me as a mother. When I was 42 I had my third child, and it was too complicated to get the right child care for all the different ages of my children so I went back to work doing the mad-dog weekend Baylor shifts, or 12 hour overnight shifts at the hospital. I worked every Saturday and Sunday from 7p to 7a. I worked 24 hours and got paid for 40. I was home with my kids all week. It was a good gig while it lasted.
Eventually I went through menopause and just couldn’t do overnights anymore- I was exhausted. In the middle of all that, I had 3 relatives come to live and die with us at my own house – I remember stopping to chat with a friend on the sidewalk and she asked how my Aunt was, and my six year old pipes up, “She’s dyin’ in our dinin’ room!” I think my kids thought ‘dinin’ rooms were for dying in. That’s where the hospital bed always went. It was just part of the circle of life.
I got divorced after a 30 year marriage and just couldn’t do the caretaking anymore. I started doing Airbnb out of the house instead of taking relatives in. It turned out to be a lot of fun! People asked me if I missed nursing and I’d say, “Nobody’s sick! Nobody’s septic! Nobody’s dying! Nobody’s trying to hit me while I’m trying to get Ativan into them!” It was a relief to work at home. I could get up without the alarm clock. These Airbnb people just wanted a clean room to stay in, a cup of coffee and “how do I get to the T? ”
Of course then the Pandemic hit and it was all over for the AirBnb. I had kept one seasonal job, giving flu shots and Hep B vaccines. I went to my boss and desperately told her I didn’t have any income, I needed some work. She said “Here- call this friend of mine- Nancy Clover. She’ll never send you anywhere unsafe and she’s a good boss.” I got all kinds of work from Nancy. Screening people in a booth at a small company working on a vaccine….working remotely as a Covid resource nurse for the small company inventing a vaccine, and setting up an Occupational Health clinic for a growing company that invented a successful vaccine. It is nice to be part of the solution. Nursing has become fun again, and it is such a pleasure working for someone who’s got my back.
For fun I paddle board every chance I get!! That is me on the left.