Her Recession: Spokane nurse reflects on balancing her family and career during COVID-19 crisis

SPOKANE, Wash.– For Callie Allen, being a nurse isn’t just a job. It’s a calling.

“I love it,” Allen said. “I still get teary with every delivery, especially when the dads lose it.”

But these days, Allen is putting in more hours than ever as a labor and delivery nurse at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. Her husband’s job was eliminated due to COVID-19 early in the pandemic. While he’s on the hunt for his next job, she’s the sole bread winner for the family of five.Nurse Allen In A Face Mask

“I just try to be very supportive of my kids and soak up every second I get with them when I can because I don’t have the option to drop hours. I don’t have the option to cut back. I have to support my family,” Allen said.

Even with precautions at work, Allen still worries about contracting COVID-19.

“You’re in this catch-22 of like, ‘Well, I can pick up shifts because we’re busy and they need nurses.’ But, you’re like, ‘If I’m picking up shifts I’m just further increasing my risk of contracting this virus and bringing it home to my kids,'” Allen said.

In July, it seemed that fear had become a reality.

Allen said she was exposed to COVID-19 by someone who was carrying the virus, but didn’t know it. Then, Allen started feeling sick with some COVID-19 symptoms.

“The kids are coming down to my room, standing at the door six feet away, with masks on, with me masked, in tears. It was so hard for a couple weeks and waiting to get results back,” Allen said.

Allen With Her Daughter At A TableWhen she finally got the news, she learned she didn’t have COVID-19. She was battling another viral infection.

Months later, she still thinks about that scare. But she’s learning to cope and continue on with her calling as a nurse and a mom.

“As much as it is stressful and it’s hard and it can be draining, it is so empowering to be able to support my family like I have been,” Allen said.

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