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CHS Mom: 'I'm Resilient and Here to Help My Patients'

May 8th, 2020
Shinelle Burgess and family

For mothers working in health care, COVID-19 has presented a host of new challenges when it comes to balancing work and home life. Three hardworking moms at Catholic Health Services shared their stories of how family support has helped them maintain a sense of normalcy at home. (Photo above: Shinelle Burgess and her family.)

Shinelle Burgess, Mercy Medical Center

Catholic Health Services Mercy Medical Center Registered Nurse Shinelle Burgess has been on the front-line in the fight against COVID-19 from early on. The mother of four boys (2 who are age 25, 15 and 14), her medical surgical unit treated the Rockville Centre hospital’s first COVID-19 patient and the unit would eventually be converted to treating only those with the virus.

As a valued member of Mercy’s interdisciplinary team, she continues to go beyond the call of duty to ensure the needs of patients, families and her co-workers are met. As Mercy dealt with increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients in March and April, Burgess worked extra shifts and served as a mentor to new nurses who were working during this pandemic.

With Burgess working additional hours, her husband took care of the family’s home life cooking meals and working with their younger sons as they adapted to the new normal of home schooling.

During the past several weeks, Burgess has felt a range of emotions that included anxiety, anger, sadness and happiness. “This has been a really difficult journey,” she said. “But I’m a nurse. I’m resilient and I am here to help my patients.”

Melissa Weinstein and family
Melissa Weinstein and her family.

Melissa Weinstein, St. Charles Hospital

Finding a balance between work and family life has been a challenge for St. Charles Hospital Clinical Nurse Educator Melissa Weinstein during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am so blessed to have both my families and despite the added demands placed upon me as a result of COVID-19 I continue to give them all my best,” she said.

With shifts at the Catholic Health Services hospital requiring constant flexibility to meet the needs of the staff, Weinstein stepped in to provide support to St. Charles’s nursing, medical and interdisciplinary teams. However, the impact on her family has been minimal thanks to the support of her husband, a teacher with the Sachem School District who has helped with home schooling and care for the couple’s three children, 2 boys age 17 and 10 and an 8-year old daughter.

At home, Weinstein said spending time with family is as important as ever. “After work, we have been playing late nights of Scrabble and Boggle, reading stories together and watching movies while continuing to enhance our younger children’s knowledge of their religion and a new language, Hebrew,” she said.

Tina Murano
Tina Murano and her daughter.

Tina Murano, St. Charles Hospital

The COVID-19 pandemic forced St. Charles Hospital’s Coordinator in the Public Affairs Office Tina Murano to navigate some geographic challenges.

Over the past several weeks, the single mother has been driving her nine-year-old daughter from her Suffolk County home to her mother’s house in western Nassau County. During the week, Murano travels after work from the Catholic Health Services hospital in Port Jefferson across Long Island to have dinner with her daughter and mother. On the weekends, Murano and her daughter return home.  

“It definitely hasn’t been business as usual these past few months,” Murano said. “There was a lot of planning and coordination that had to take place to ensure my daughter was well taken care of and I have to say I’m truly fortunate to have an incredible support system that rose to the occasion.”

Also, Murano has handled all food donations for St. Charles during this pandemic and has been available on weekend and evenings should questions about the donations arise.