Mother-daughter nurses in COVID-19 unit at Henry Mayo stay strong for community

Ana Rodriguez (left) and her mother Beatriz both work together at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital and have aided patients in the hospital's COVID-19 unit. Tammy Murga/ The Signal
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At home, they’re mother and daughter, but as soon as they put on their medical scrubs and enter Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, they’re a front-line duo helping the community fight the coronavirus pandemic. 

Beatriz Rodriguez is a registered nurse in the hospital’s step-down unit, caring for COVID-19 patients who are still in critical care and closely monitored before being transferred to a regular hospital floor.

She is also a mother of four, including Ana, a patient care assistant at the hospital’s new patient tower. 

The pair has tirelessly reported for work, calling the hospital their second home but also a battleground against an invisible enemy — the culprit behind the red marks along their cheeks and noses caused by N95 masks worn consistently for hours a day. 

“When we go to the COVID-19 unit, we have to wear the N95s, which, you know, are very tight around your face. We get headaches because we keep them on for 12 hours and only take them off when we go eat or when we drink water. It’s just something that we kind of deal with every day,” said Beatriz on Wednesday after attending the city of Santa Clarita’s Heart for Heroes event outside of the hospital’s patient tower to thank the medical staff on National Nurses Day.  

The Hearts for Heroes logo is projected on the side of the new Tower of the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital to thank essential workers for National Nurses Day in Valencia on Wednesday, May 06, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Looking over at her daughter, they both smiled and the mother said, “But we just love what we do.” 

While both have worked in different departments and with different patients in the past, the COVID-19 crisis has brought them closer in their response, having worked together with three cases recently. 

“We had three patients together at one point. So, we just kind of shifted gears. We put our relationship as mother and daughter aside and that made it professional. We try to make sure our patients are as comfortable as they can be. It’s really nice to see the patients we care for end up getting better,” said Ana. 

And while they have been tirelessly working, their new routine has not been the easiest. 

“It’s scary. It’s a lot of work. I have three other kids at home and they know that when we come home, no touching,” said Beatriz. 

The mother and daughter have had to pause the hugging and kissing among their family and have had to increase their safety measures. For example, both shower at the end of their shift at the hospital, trade their scrubs for their regular clothes and head home, where they take off their shoes and keep a distance from their loved ones for precaution. 

Watching a big, red heart illuminate on the patient tower on Wednesday during the city’s event, reminded them of why they do what they do. 

“It makes us feel appreciated that the community comes together when we need them the most, and these are just one of those moments, because it’s not an easy job and we’re all trying our best to keep our community safe,” Beatriz said. “So, we’re very thankful.” 

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