DETROIT – A cheerleader with the Detroit Lions spends her days away from Ford Field working as a nurse, and she has been on the front lines of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Local 4 caught up with MacKenzie to talk about what it’s been like caring for others during the pandemic. We cannot publish her last name due to NFL rules.
As a Lions cheerleader, MacKenzie said she sees herself as an ambassador to the Detroit community. But as a nurse at the Birthing Center at Ascension St. John Hospital, she sees herself as a support to new mothers, especially now.
“This time, more than ever, it’s important to be a support and a source for our patients,” MacKenzie said.
Nothing has been normal for her these past few months, personally or professionally. Last year was her rookie season with the Lions, and by now, auditions for 2020 would have begun.
“We are in the process of virtual auditions,” MacKenzie said. “We have live auditions planned for when the state can reopen.”
Her day job as a registered nurse at St. John has certainly changed, as well.
“Day-to-day work changed significantly,” MacKenzie said. “We wear masks with every patient. All visitors have to wear masks. Visitors are cut down to minimize traffic in the hospital. I’m trying to stay positive and keep moving forward.”
Usually, new mother shave visitors during labor and afterward. Due to the pandemic, just one person is allowed in. They also have to be screened.
“Thankfully they are allowed one person,” MacKenzie said. “That person has to be screened and tested to be allowed in the hospital. Extended family and friends who would normally visit are not allowed anymore.”
MacKenzie said that means her job description has expanded from RN to supporter. She has to be there for her patients more so than ever.
She said being a people person on and off the field helps.
“No one expected this to happen, unfortunately,” MacKenzie said. “It’s been a stress to new norms. We chat with them and see what we can do to make the experience a good one.”
MacKenzie said many new Lions fans have been born during the pandemic. Thanks to the hospital’s precautions, everyone is safe and healthy.
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