Terri Roberts, BSN, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Location: Irwin, PA

Title: Senior Infection Preventionist

Company/Organization: Patient Safety Authority

First Certified: July 2007

I’ve been a nurse for over 40 years and a certified IP for over 20 years. This COVID-19 pandemic has been the most trying time in my personal/professional life. I am a senior infection preventionist working for Pennsylvania’s Patient Safety Authority. I serve as a resource for all healthcare facility types across our commonwealth.

On March 10, 2020 my husband retired from his job in the nuclear industry. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic.

My husband and I have two daughters, our oldest is a paramedic and our youngest is a registered nurse, both working on the front line caring for COVID-19 positive patients. Because of the shortages of PPE early on, our family decided the safest thing to do for our grandchildren was to move them in with us temporarily. Our grandson was 11 years old and our granddaughter was just 8 weeks old.

In addition to the long work hours, I was making bottles, changing diapers, and giving nightly feedings. I rocked my granddaughter during phone calls and ZOOM meetings. I was helping our grandson with his online schooling. I was worried for my daughters and I was tired, very tired. But I am a nurse and nurses rise to the challenge. Problems with supply chains eventually eased. My daughters were safe and my grandchildren went home.

It was a very hard and very, very sad time last spring and as I reflect, I know I made a difference. I did a lot of infection prevention teaching, I helped get PPE to facilities that were in need, and sometimes I was a shoulder to cry on and that’s OK. I continue to pray for the health and safety of all of our healthcare heroes.