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Season 1: Aesthetics nurse laid off during the pandemic

Zan Phillips, Registered Nurse in Tennessee, responds

This interview took place on April 06, 2020.

Zan Phillips has been laid off from her job as a nurse in the aesthetics industry while elective procedures are disallowed during the current COVID-19 situation. She sat down with Sally Hendrick to discuss what she is experiencing and how she's being asked to consider returning to the hospital setting.

Guest bio:

Former ICU and hospice nurse, Zan Phillips of Nashville, Tennessee, currently specializes in aesthetics with her nursing career.




Zan Phillips (00:40):

Hi Zan Phillips. How are you doing? How are you? Good. It's good to talk to you. And I know that you're a nurse. Yes. So I was an ICU nurse in the national area and also a hospice nurse I did in home hospice for years. My heart got a little tired. I got kind of, you know, that was a very intense job for a lot of years. And so I have moved into the plastic surgery field. So I work for a facial plastic surgeon for a year. And then I do all injectables at a local aesthetic spa kind of place. I guess it's a medical spa. So I do injectables, Botox, filler, all of those things. Those things.

Sally Hendrick (01:27):

So are you guys shut down right now because of COVID-19?

Zan Phillips (01:32):

We are closed. And we were laid off, the whole staff was laid off and with the caveat that we will all come back as soon as we can reopen.

Zan Phillips (01:43):

So, you know, there's so many words furlough, laid off, whatever our official word was laid off and so we could file for unemployment. And that's something that is a whole another ball of wax. But I've also been contacted by several local hospitals to be a part of the pandemic response team. So it's like an eight week contract or you would be contracted nurse, you go in the hospital for the next eight weeks at the end of that weeks they'll re-evaluate when they need you to do another eight weeks until this all dies down. So I don't really want to do that at this time. And unfortunate that we are in a place financially where we don't have to do that at this time. But you know, who knows if this lasts until August, maybe a different story.

Sally Hendrick (02:32):

That's true and it could last until August. Are you hearing, what are you hearing from the inside?

Zan Phillips (02:38):

So in the medical community, just in kind of what I've heard and I have tried to stay disconnected because social media and TV just limited because it can be very overwhelming. So I have talked with a few friends in the business and medical and so they are all saying that it's going to be at least until July at the very least we may be looking will the kids start school next year? It was the latest question. I don't know.

Sally Hendrick (03:09):

So were they thinking then as far as it's going to be until July, do you think that that means that we would be in this situation where only essential businesses are open for that long?

Zan Phillips (03:24):

That's a question too. So an essential business is is weird because car wash is deemed essential I guess because all car washes are open and I know you don't have to necessarily get out of your car, but some people do in vacuum. I think essential may be more well defined in the next coming weeks and then be redefined as to what can happen. Yes, you could drive your car through a car wash. Yes, you can go to the dentist and have your teeth cleaned, but they're going to space out your appointments. You know, they've told everyone to not do their routine well visits or any unnecessary medical treatments. That's why we are closed. Getting a facial from one of our estheticians would be really hard to keep a six foot this dense. That's just not possible.

Sally Hendrick (04:09):

I've even heard that we probably will need more distance between people at some point, but I, but obviously that hasn't come through the official channels yet.

Zan Phillips (04:21):

Yeah, I have heard that too. And I've heard that, you know, now we are to wear masks during all of this, whether you're out and you [inaudible] because you don't know if you're a carrier, you don't know if you are asymptomatic, but you're, you could be spreading just talking. You have enough droplets that can contaminate someone. So it's to protect everyone. And so that's a new, you know, everyone should have an a mask when they going out. That's a new kind of thought process. It used to be only if you're sick, but I get it. We want to keep everyone safe. So I think things will keep changing and evolving. You know, no one knows what this looks like in the long term, but everyone is trying to do their best. So it just continues to change and evolve.

Sally Hendrick (05:04):

And you're in Tennessee? I'm in Tennessee and so obviously the culture here and what's happening right now with this is all very different than what we're seeing in other places. Like New York of course is under major crisis situation right now. California has shut down 40 million people in their state basically and on their orders and they're you know, really being strict about all of that. What do you think about where we are right now in Tennessee of what's happening?

Zan Phillips (05:41):

I think that we are slow to the ballgame. I think that we are responding. I live in Rutherford County, which is South of Nashville. Davidson County is Nashville. They responded more quickly. I work in Davidson County also, so they responded more quickly. Rutherford County, I know that where I go at workout exercise did not close up till the 23rd of March, which I feel I didn't go for two weeks before that thinking surely they'll close. But rather for County has been a little slower to respond. I know they, I'm not sure what day they did there. I think the 23rd was their first mandatory close because that Saturday evening before that there's a restaurant down the road from us. It was packed. I mean there was a full dining room. We drove by like, are you kidding me? I didn't want to go to the grocery store.

Sally Hendrick (06:33):

Now do you see people that most people that are in the medical field feel the same way you do about how that's going? Or do you see differences in opinions even within nurses? The nursing community.

Zan Phillips (06:47):

I think it's just, it's differences of opinions across the board. I mean, everyone agrees that we need to stay safe. I have spoken to some ICU and ER nurses that say it's just like SARS and Ebola was when we were all there. Same kind of precautions. No, none of those things became this magnitude of a problem, but we did the same precautions, had the same protocols. It's just on such a greater level. So the nurses that I know, you know, wash your hands, if everyone washed their hands like we're doing now, the flu and pneumonia would be so much less. Wash your hands is a great habit to adapt every day of your life. And so as nurses, you can't think about how much PPE is being missed right now because you still have to go to work. So you have to just go, I'm strong, I'm brave. I'm gonna drink my vitamin C and, and drink my water and keep working. So unfortunately I'm not on that front line, but I know what it's like. And I have many friends that are.

Sally Hendrick (07:53):

So in other words. Some people may think that enough is being done and some may not, but it, but we're also talking about Tennessee. We're not at that critical level yet. So when

Zan Phillips (08:05):

Maybe last Wednesday, people really started to get it. I think that people, it really kinda hit home. You're an, I'm now talking to friends socially that are like, Oh, I'm not going to go to the store. I don't even know if I'm going to go pick up a to go order because I'm a little more leery. I'm like, well, it's about time. You know, it's time. Okay. It takes up, you know, something like New York on the news for people to kind of hit home again, that things are not easily managed.

Sally Hendrick (08:34):

But even so, New York is still pretty far away from us. And so I still feel like there's a lot of people here that it's kind of a mystery.

Zan Phillips (08:43):

So those big liberal cities, you know, liberal States, Jesus, it's all good. There's a little bit of that. Truly there is, you know, people just, they just think it's not me. It doesn't happen here. You know? And that's unfortunate.

Sally Hendrick (09:03):

Well, hopefully by the time I get this out to the world, this recording, we won't be seeing worst situation. But I mean, obviously the projections are saying that it will be worse and that because people have such different opinions and are not necessarily doing all of the things and you even see it across the States, like the governors in certain States are not shutting things down as quickly as others. And, and then you're also seeing, pardon me, each mayor and so on and so forth. Right. So, and then a central businesses, like you said, the definition is going to change as to what's essential. I know that in Italy they cut out all of the leisurely walks and exercising outside as well because it's getting so bad.

Zan Phillips (09:57):

There I was, I heard that Georgia opened their beaches on Saturday to exercise. So, which is just bizarre. I know we've closed our state parks, we enjoy hiking and going outdoors and we hiked probably two or three weeks ago at a location close to town and it was packed. And I'm like the trails this way, we can't stay six feet from people. I know we're all outside and it's supposed to be good for us, but I think that was a requirement that had to happen. Yes. I'd love to be camping and hiking right now, but no, it's not. We're supposed to stay at home or stay at home order means stay at home. Exactly. There's not really a lot of, you know, gray area on that one. I was in Montgomery, Alabama driving through and stopped for gas and when I stopped the, to go in to use the restroom and get a water, we weren't allowed in. We, they only allowed six people in at a time to their gas station and they laid, it was out the door with a mask and gloves holding us back. We had to stay apart, which was great. I loved that. I thought I didn't want to go have to go in here anyways, but,

Sally Hendrick (11:09):

Exactly. Yeah. That's like, I don't want to have to go, but you know, you do have to go.

Zan Phillips (11:16):


Sally Hendrick (11:16):

Okay. Well, is there anything else that you're thinking about? Like is there anything you're fearful of?

Zan Phillips (11:23):

You know I am just fearful for those that are maybe isolated in a home with a domestic situation or an alcoholic that's not a pleasant one or, you know, all of those things worry me. I worry about children and the environment that they're in because I mean I have children, I have one here that's not in school, but we have fun. He's made 90 puppets and done a million crafts and we've baked and, and all the things. But I worry about the kids that don't healthy relationships with their families or, or with, you know, in general. So that worries me. But mental health is a mental kind of pulse of the community bothers me because I know that some people don't are, are completely isolated if they're doing it right. And that can be scary for some people. So yeah, I worry about that aspect of it.

Zan Phillips (12:15):

Yes. I don't want to get sick. I am a healthy individual. I know it doesn't matter. It can, we don't know how this virus will affect each individual, but I don't have any pre existing conditions that would definitely make it bad. So I know that any asthmatic child and in hospice work, I did so much work with children that you know, we're teetering on the edge. And so if they get something like this, it's going to be a devastation. That's just a little too soon. You know, there's 100% chance that we're all going to die. We can't get out of it, but you know, let's not hasten it. Let's do it, you know, a nice way. So I just worry about those that get taken just a little too early.

Sally Hendrick (12:57):

And then what about your hopes for what will come of this after it's all over?

Zan Phillips (13:06):

Yeah, I mean I've thought a lot about that. I think that my hope is people will realize what makes them really happy, what they enjoy, how important it is to slow down. I've had many friends say, I didn't realize how overbooked at was. Well, no kidding. You're taking your kids now and new places, scheduling your social events. You never stopped and looked at anybody. You never really heard what anyone else had to say. So I hope that we can all be better listeners. We can all enjoy showing up for work. Even if we don't love it, have a job to go to, should change that atmosphere. I would help a little bit to be more grateful, you know? So I can't wait to hug my friends. That's my favorite.

Sally Hendrick (13:48):

Yeah, I did miss the hugs.

Zan Phillips (13:50):

Yeah. I'm a touchy feely, so I really have a hard time with not, when I see somebody I'm like, Hey woo. I just want to grab you.

Sally Hendrick (14:00):

Well, thank you for talking with me today. Anything else you want to add?

Zan Phillips (14:05):

No, I appreciate you doing this.

Sally Hendrick (14:08):

All right. You're welcome. All right. Thanks Zan. All right, bye.

Sally Hendrick (14:21):

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