Amid rising numbers of COVID-19 patients, emergency room nurse Meagan Doggett has a new routine.
After working nights at Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital, she sheds contaminated scrubs in her garage and tosses them in the washer. Then she heads directly to the shower. Once dressed, she goes to her mother’s house to see her children for a few hours before sleeping and heading back to work.
As a single mom, her main goal is to protect her family, care for her patients and encourage coworkers.
“Until COVID-19, I didn’t know my exact calling in nursing,” said the 30-year-old Southeast Christian Church member. “Then in the middle of this crisis, my manager on the unit pointed to me and said, ‘No matter what’s going on in the unit, this girl has a smile on her face.’ Now I feel like I am called to the ER for the patients and people who work there.”
Doggett cleans and recleans everything she touches at home: steam-cleaning floors, disinfecting counters, sanitizing everything in sight.
Routine continues when she gets in the car to go to work. Doggett prepares for her shift by singing worship music. Her favorites are “Way Maker” and “So Will I.”
“In the beginning, I thought it was hard to see God in all this,” she said. “But when you look for it, you see His hand in everything.”
Throughout the day, if she has a free moment, Doggett scans a verse or two on her Bible app.
“I hope through this all people will continue to pray and see God’s goodness,” she said. “We must come together in unity to kick COVID-19 in the butt.”
Doggett said the real heroes are those working closely with COVID-19 patients, including those in the ICU and respiratory therapists who give breathing treatments and check ventilators.
“They are in the face of COVID-19,” she said.
Doggett said support in the community has been sweet: cards made by groups of kids, donated food for breaks, handmade surgical caps, encouraging signs posted throughout the unit, notes from friends.
But there have been other moments: A friend in scrubs stopped at the store on her way home to pick up a few items and was sprayed with Lysol by another shopper. A few flippantly say, “You signed up for this.”
No one, she says, signs up for a pandemic.
The hardest part of fighting COVID-19 is being separated from children. Many healthcare workers only see their families on days off. Others have moved out of their homes to safeguard their families from a virus no one completely understands.
Doggett is active in the single moms group at the Blankenbaker Campus.
She visited Southeast in 2013, turning to faith during a difficult time. She thought it was too big, too far from her home until she met Southeast member Tammy Young in the nursing mothers’ room and gained a friend for life.
That next Christmas was lonely and hard until Young called to get her address. Soon the Youngs pulled up to her driveway with Christmas gifts for the family.
“God has been so good to give me a close group of other single moms at Southeast, good friends in healthcare and faith to carry me through,” she said. “I pray people will take precautions to keep everyone safe.”