Where You're At: Furloughed Nurse | KBIA

Where You're At: Furloughed Nurse

Jul 7, 2020

We at KBIA have found strength in our community during the COVID crisis. In our series, “Where You’re At,” we're talking to our family and friends to see how their coping during the pandemic.

Here is Jack Kosowski’s conversation with Marie Taylor Tarr, a registered nurse at a transitional psychiatric ward:

Can I have your name and title? What do you do?

Yes, my name is Marie Taylor Tarr and I'm a registered nurse at a transitional psychiatric facility.

Right now, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, how are you? How is your family? How are you doing?

Thank you for asking. Well, yes, my daughter is healthy and she has a visitor from Peru here and he is also staying healthy and they're very compliant with wearing masks when they go out. And since I'm a little more high risk due to my age and a medical condition, they often run errands, though that's kind of relaxed a little bit. The last week or two I've gotten out.

You told me that you were furloughed. Kind of give me an idea of what that's like, how it happened, how they notified you.

Sure. So it was in March. I think it was around the 11th. I went into work and checked my email and then came out and talked to my supervisor who is a registered nurse. And she, after that went into the social workers office and came back out and said, ‘Oh, you know, we're going to furlough you because of the COVID-19.’ You know, likely these are tough economic times for businesses. And so I was really surprised, and I left. And, so I decided, I had never applied for unemployment. But yeah, furlough means basically mandatory time off from your work, but you're likely going to return. It's a short term, short term event, as I understand it,

I mean, a lot of people I mean, throughout the United States, but you know, Missouri, especially are going through this, you know, issue of trying to apply for unemployment, especially when you get furloughed or you know, heaven forbid be laid off.

Sure. And this is a new experience for me. So, I heard a little bit on the news how to do it and I went online and googled unemployment, Missouri and it sets you up for really well on how to do it, and what information they need. And they get back to you in a couple of days. And basically, they base it on the quarters that you've worked previously, you have to make a certain amount of money

For being on unemployment compared to being on just your normal salary, normal wage. Has it complicated anything in your financial life, personal life at all? Have you had to change anything? Or is it still kind of normal to you?

It's fairly normal though the federal government has added the CARES Act, there's some money that adds to the Missouri salary. And so that's a nice perk. And, anytime then I would go back to work, I would stop applying for that, though they do grant you I think, at least for four months of unemployment, and they tell you that if you haven't gotten a job back by, I think it was June 6th, in my case that I would need to show that I explored at least three job options.

But do you see any positives, some things that you've been able to do that you have not been able to, maybe see some sort of hope in the world?

Yes, I think it makes you really reflect on your future and your past and what goals that you want in life. Because, I think the world is in such an accelerated pace, we don't have time to reflect about our lives. So it's enabled me to think about my future and what I want out of it; how I want the world to look. It’s been able to help me support my daughters, and actually spend more time with them. Things that we don't normally have time to do.