I was wrong.

I’ve had a rough morning. This post is full of humble pie. Pull up a seat.

I’m not a medical expert.

I made a recommendation on my blog the other day that cloth surgical masks would be beneficial for nurses on the front lines of COVID 19. This hasn’t been proven. We don’t have data. We don’t know if cloth masks will help.

In fact, cloth masks, if used incorrectly, could carry the virus. It could deteriorate the masks we have. This is too new. The data isn’t there to draw an evidenced based conclusion on how to protect healthcare providers when our standard PPE isn’t available. We don’t know how this virus is spread or how it clings to certain materials.

I want you to know, cloth masks may not be the right choice. I didn’t know that when I made Saturday’s post.

I’ve reviewed some of my recent blog posts and they sound a little bit too much like I’m offering medical advice or recommendations. I’m not going to do that anymore. I don’t want to mislead anyone.

Instead, I will stick to what I do best and what I love: telling my stories and sharing other’s stories. So here are a few stories regarding the PPE crisis:

Nurses have reportedly been asked to share one time use surgical masks. What used to be one time use, nurses are now being asked to use one mask for 12 hours and then pass it on to their next shift.

Nurses have reportedly been told to cut holes in garbage bags to wear over their scrubs because the hospital is out of gowns.

Nurses have reportedly been advised to turn in their one time use PPE to be sterilized at the end of each shift. This also has no data to back up its efficacy.

Nurses are reportedly so thankful for the cloth masks that the community has provided them because without them they have nothing. The hospital has NOTHING.

Hospital administrators across Iowa have BEGGED the general public to sew cloth masks. They have weighed the risk and the benefit and they believe that is their best option: better than nothing.

A recent poll on a popular nursing Instagram account showed 92% of nurses who responded to the poll report that their facility is running out of PPE and FAST.

So those are the stories. That’s what I’ll be sticking to. Don’t come here for evidence based practice. Don’t come here for data and facts.

There’s a reason I prefer teaching on the clinical floor and not the classroom. I teach the practical side of nursing. I’m not good with data and research and numbers. I’m not always good at “by the book.” I’m so thankful for those on my healthcare team that offer the by the book/data driven/book smart point of views.

I’ve also deleted this mornings blog post after several comments accusing me of being “weak” or “too anxious to work” and to “get off my phone and pay attention to my kids” because I’ve “already missed out on so much of their life.”

I don’t have words for you (yet).



  1. Gineen
    March 23, 2020 / 4:59 pm

    You are doing the best you can, as many of us are.
    As a nurse you are in a different category as your duty to serve, knowledge of what is happening and will happen compounds your decision making.
    I think you should do what you feel is right in your gut, without fear of judgement from others.
    You know what is best and most important for you and your family.

  2. Joyce
    March 23, 2020 / 5:12 pm

    Ignore the idiots and don’t feed into their shortsightedness! I’m sure their lives aren’t perfect and they’re miserable so they want everyone to be miserable. I commend you on what a great wife, mother, and nurse you are!!! I love your blogs! It’s the bigger person who takes the high road ??

    • Donna
      March 23, 2020 / 10:11 pm

      Well, it just goes to prove that everyone is human. No one is perfect. Including the naysayers.
      You, my dear, say what’s on your mind and heart. This is YOUR blog. Let them get their own.
      We won’t always agree but that’s ok too.
      Love and prayers.

  3. Stoney Monte
    March 23, 2020 / 5:50 pm

    Anyone who can admit a mistake and move on to higher ground gets a plus sign from me. You are on the right path in life and a few bumps along the way are just par for the course. Just be you!!
    And BTW, I was fine with your post earlier this morning!!!

  4. Sherri C
    March 23, 2020 / 6:05 pm

    I didn’t read your earlier post so I can’t comment on it. Know that I enjoy your blog. You have a goal to pay off your credit cards and if that means working more for a short time, I say go for it.

    Your boys are adorable and you and Craig are great parents. Your parents were/are excellent role models on how to parent. Look how great their children turned out!

    Keep your chin up and don’t let those negative comments get to you.

  5. Christine
    March 23, 2020 / 6:52 pm

    The reason I read blogs is because I enjoy that person and sgree with them. I am not going criticize them onhow they behave or what they do. If your followers are talking to you that way, then they need to leave. Your blog is true and honest. Thank you for this.

  6. Linda in NE
    March 23, 2020 / 7:19 pm

    Oh, you have the words, Kalissa. You’re just too polite to use them on a public forum. I would suggest that people pay attention to their own lives and let you run yours. As for the masks, anything is better than nothing at all. Even though I’ve read reports of tons of masks being shipped, we both know that the more rural areas of this country will be the last to get any and that includes rural Iowa & rural Nebraska. We’ve never counted for much before so why would it be different now? Just keep on doing the best you can for yourself and your family.

  7. Lynne Nicholson UK
    March 23, 2020 / 7:46 pm

    Those who told you :-

    to “get off my phone and pay attention to my kids” because I’ve “already missed out on so much of their life.”

    Almost certainly aren’t perfect in their life.

    I remember being told by someone when my youngest was a new baby and I was newly divorced after an abusive marriage that instead of napping when I put my three children for the one nap they took together I should do my housework then. I by far preferred the person who when I told her I was going for a nap with my children told me she’d wash up and leave while I did that… when I came down after the nap not only were my dishes washed up but my kitchen was sparkling and my mountain of clothes waiting to washed had disappeared to be returned next morning clean and ironed- this was an overwhelming kindness given to me at the time.

    We can only live our lives our way. Keep doing what works for you

  8. Annie
    March 23, 2020 / 7:59 pm

    The world is so full of angry people who need to pay attention to their own lives. If you can’t say something nice, say nothing.

  9. Lori
    March 23, 2020 / 8:01 pm

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. You were trying to do good. You are a good person. None of us are perfect.

    You will learn from this and go on. take care.

  10. Karen
    March 23, 2020 / 8:03 pm

    Consider the source! People are scared, bored, frustrated,etc. and some people are just plain mean and don’t have enough to do! It sucks that communicating with those of us who enjoy reading your blog and want to hear from you exposes you to the wrath of these awful people. It annoys me the things they say to both you and your mom. Please know that the majority of us are not judgemental and mean and you, and your mom, really make our day!

  11. Joann
    March 23, 2020 / 8:14 pm

    In your earlier (now deleted) post you stated that you couldn’t seem to put your phone down and was complaining about not having any “me” time. Also I believe you were complaining about being overwhelmed in the weeks prior to this pandemic. My earlier post suggested that you get away from the phone and focus on what’s important–your kids. I also suggested that you need to reevaluate your career choice if you’re finding yourself too stressed and panicked to do your job. And before I get attacked, no I’m not perfect. I have a husband and a daughter who has a weakened immune system. I chose to quit working to be with her which was quite a financial adjustment at first, but we recently paid off our mortgage on less than $20,000 a year income and receive no public assistance at all.

    We are all entitled to free speech and if you want to call me names because of my opinions, that’s fine. I think you need to grow up and realize that the world is not perfect and it does not revolve around you.

    • Diane
      March 24, 2020 / 1:27 pm

      You need to move on. Can’t you see you’ve caused way too much hurt here? Take your unkind comments somewhere else. Better yet, keep your unkind comments to yourself. When someone is down you don’t keep kicking them. And momma bear said everything right on!

    • pam
      March 24, 2020 / 8:40 pm

      I don’t see anywhere in her post that she called you names. Maybe you also need to put aside your computer, phone or whatever you are reading blogs on while not paying attention to your child.

    • Kelsi
      March 25, 2020 / 3:16 am

      God doesn’t call the prepared. He prepares the called. Most nurses are anxious about this pandemic. And the ones that aren’t worried about it, probably slightly should be. I’m usually very laid back, but this pandemic puts everyone more on edge. Especially when you are a nurse and a mom, to two little ones. It makes you even more nervous. I know all too well about this as I am a nurse and also have two children under the age of two. I worry about the shortage of supplies and having to reuse PPE. I’m worried this will make things less effective and I worry about exposing my loved ones, especially by children. But, with all of that being said. We still go to work and we take care of people. Joann, instead of telling Kalissa to re-evaluate her career choice, she should be encouraged to embrace it and be brave. Blog all about the COVID-19 so someday when you’re old and gray you can look back and remember how scary it was and think back to how things have changed so much in health care. I know one thing is that we already don’t have enough nurses and health care workers out there. We need to have more health care workers out there. So they can take care of our people. Especially those who are Immunocompromised, such as your daughter. Joann, you should change your name to Nancy. Negative Nancy.

    • Susan the Farm Quilter
      March 25, 2020 / 3:32 am

      Joann, here is my free speech. You are being a bitch and you don’t have an f***ing clue what you are talking about. Shut the hell up, crawl back in your hole until you can educate yourself on the life a nurse leads in a small, rural hospital with inadequate resources leads. They are working scrambled shifts, which means she’s working 12 hours from 6 to 6, sometimes at night and sometimes during the day, with maybe a day in between to screw up her body clock. She’s got a baby with medical issues that she can’t get the only formula he can drink, because it is gone. She’s got a mom who usually watches her kids for her but is battling cancer and so she can no longer help her daughter. Her back-up sitter was exposed and is in isolation, so she works for 12 hours and can’t come home and sleep. You, sitting in your house with your 1 child, no worries about a job, and you are telling her to grow up!! My goodness, woman, you are being so incredibly judgmental when you really have no damn clue. You are the one that needs to grow up and have some empathy for others. Your development is stunted in that area

    • Sherry
      March 26, 2020 / 1:56 am

      Joann, I am curious – genuinely curious as to why you are reading Kalissa’s blog, You don’t seem to like or respect her, her posts apparently make you angry enough to tell what you think she needs to do – twice. She hasn’t asked you (or anyone) for your help. This is her blog, she really can write what she would like. If her actions and words annoy you so much, maybe this blog isn’t for you and you are free to not read it and go find a different one to read. I suspect though that you are just trying to make yourself feel better by putting her down….

  12. March 23, 2020 / 8:47 pm

    All I can say is “Wow,”. Some people need to be mean and judgemental.

    Kalissa you are an amazing young woman who is doing what you do to make your life and family the best it can be. I’m impressed with the amount you get done in a day; being a great Mom, teaching, working and taking time you could be sleeping to write blog posts to share with all of us.

    Don’t let nasty people get you down.. it’s not worth the time it takes to respond to ignorance.

    As for the masks, you made the best point; something is better than nothing. If your government can’t get supply lines sorted out there will be nothing to provide any protection at all to the front line workers. Thanks for Taking the chances you are taking By continuing to work.

  13. mpv61
    March 23, 2020 / 8:54 pm

    You are a great mom. That comes through loud and clear at all times. Hang in there!!

  14. LGZ
    March 23, 2020 / 9:42 pm

    The people making suggestions about spending more time with your kids may have some validity. Rather then see it as criticism you might want to see it as trying to advocate for the boys from another perspective.

    • Susan the Farm Quilter
      March 25, 2020 / 3:46 am

      You obviously don’t know anyone in health care right now. Everyone is pulling out all the stops trying to stay ahead of the tsunami that is coming. They are under an incredible amount of stress as their world is changing by the hour. How about showing a little support and understanding of her insane world? She is trying her best to be everything to everyone and if she doesn’t get some relief, she is going to fall apart. She comes on HER blog to vent a bit and gets attacked by people who honestly are clueless and have zero empathy. I have 2 kids in healthcare and they are teetering on the edge of collapse…they all need support, understanding and compassion, not judgmental crap from people who suggest they look at “criticism as being an advocate for their boys.” Just stop. If you can’t say something nice, just don’t say anything. If it can even remotely be considered critical, don’t say/type it. The medical community in every hospital is scared, stressed and under more pressure then you can imagine unless you are currently working in that situation. They are raw. Be gentle.

    • pam
      March 26, 2020 / 3:29 pm

      LGZ It should read “THAN” not “THEN” . There shoots the idea that you think you are perfect and know what others should or shouldn’t be doing.

  15. Katherine Gourley
    March 23, 2020 / 9:50 pm

    Kalissa, I follow your Mom’s blog and I am a RN OCN (retired). I posted that quilting cotton masks do not provide protection from bacteria and viruses that a microscopic to say the least. n95 masks are what are needed as they filter to 0.03 microns. n95 masks also need to be fitted for size to the healthcare personnel. Surgical masks filter less but they are the next best thing when an institution has run out of n95 respirator masks. There are scholarly publications about the efficacy of types of masks and what they filter.

    This is a publication on PubMed:
    Testing the Efficacy of Homemade Masks: Would They Protect in an Influenza Pandemic?
    Anna Davies, KatyAnne Thompson, Karthika Giri, George Kafatos, Jimmy Walker and Allan Bennett
    Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness / FirstView Article / July 2013, pp 1 6
    DOI: 10.1017/dmp.2013.43, Published online: 22 May 2013

    If a nurse did use a homemade mask, the nurse would need to doff it and dispose of it. The moisture that would come normally from breathing would create a breeding environment in which the viruses could grow. Also, if out of desperation a cotton mask was used it would absolutely require that a face shield be used with it.

  16. Tama
    March 24, 2020 / 1:59 am

    I read your earlier post and now deleted post. I regret not sending a comment of support your way at that time. Here’s a double dose of “yes” just for you. Take care.

  17. Helen A
    March 24, 2020 / 12:44 pm

    People are only making judgments on a very small snippet of your life that you are posting. We likely see 1% of your life on here. If a few people get the wrong impression of you from analyzing a very small percentage of your life you choose to post I wouldn’t pay them too much mind. My daughter had quite a few issues (feeding and speech – now resolved from almost a year of therapy) and I’ve had some including her pediatrician blame ME for those issues. I later had her SLP explain it actually was sensory issues and low oral motor tone and not at all my fault. But a year prior it really hurt me and upset me until I realized something. That doctor and others are not there with me at 3am when my daughter night wakes. They’re not there when my daughter used to melt down because she couldn’t speak the complex thoughts in her mind. They weren’t there researching all hours of the night about what could be the issue with my daughter and worry about her future. That was all me and my husband and our opinions are the only ones that matter.

    You are a good mom. I can see that from these posts. Gannon is doing better because of YOU and your constant care and determination to fix him. I also know you are a good nurse. You are a profectionist. I have zero doubt you are too anxious to do your job. Also many are anxious over the lack of PPE including myself because my husband is a respiratory therapist. In fact I don’t know any in health care who are not anxious right now.

    Trust me. Pay these people no mind. Don’t let them upset you. It’s not worth giving them anymore of your time in that way.

  18. Ellie
    March 24, 2020 / 1:35 pm

    I read your earlier post but didn’t comment because I wasn’t sure what to say. My plan was to come back later and leave you a supportive comment. Didn’t happen.

    Thank you for all you’re doing. You are doing your best to keep your head above water while swimming upstream. None of us can know what you’re dealing with because we can’t be in your shoes. In addition to concern for your patients and your family I’m sure you are concerned for your mom. All this added to the stress of not having the adequate supplies to protect yourself would overwhelm many of us. Yet you carry on. I have the perspective of age (I’m old enough to be your grandmother ) but I’m not sure I could cope with your situation. The critics are always there . If you see someone’s comment is negative stop reading and move on. Remember that most are appreciative of your efforts. Prayers for you and you and your colleagues.

  19. KIM Z
    March 24, 2020 / 1:44 pm

    Kalissa, I always read & rarely comment. I can’t believe the nerve of some people. I left a comment on your mom’s post as “all this” is bringing out the mama bear in her. I sure wish I lived in your community to help you out. Your support system has been compromised by this pandemic. That alone is a lot to deal with.
    I can not imagine the stress of juggling a young family & the responsibility of working in today’s medical field. You are appreciated and needed by so many. Stay strong & find a moment to breathe in some fresh air and point your face to the sun. ( it’s always helps me to find my direction and move forward).

  20. Elle
    March 24, 2020 / 2:21 pm

    Thank you for being a REGISTERED NURSE. Thank you for caring so deeply about your patients and your family.

    I am a 39 year Surgery RN recently retired. When I started in the OR, we were still wearing cloth masks. It was a very loose weave soft cotton. So, I will say that, with today’s tightweave cotton and batik, cloth masks today vs no protection or wearing wet/soiled surgical masks, I am making cloth masks for my friends and colleagues here at home. I am getting requests for them already. I do think they will make a difference. I appreciated the pic the other day of you modeling one over your N95.

    Logan DNP obviously excels at what my preceptors back then bragged: “we eat our young”. I swore I never would, and didn’t. I know you will be a far better RN than the nasty DNP. Stand proud. Stand strong. You make a difference every day.

    Take good care my colleague. Your babies are lucky to call you Mom.

    Love and hugs from an RN out West!

  21. Skipper
    March 24, 2020 / 2:45 pm

    Thinking of you and sending prayers for safety, protection, and wisdom. Thank you for your dedication to your community and family!

  22. Linda in Texas
    March 24, 2020 / 3:32 pm

    You’re doing just great Kalissa. With everything that’s going on in our lives, there is always a chance to feel superior to someone else. Apparently JoAnn subscribes to that mantra. I do not. But then I’m old and have learned a lot as I lived. Please just delete (and BLOCK) people who are nasty, feel superior, and really think that we need to hear their opinion. We don’t. Love to you and your kids and Craig and your mom and thank you for sharing your family with us. I love your blog and tune in every day. You always make me smile.

  23. Sophie Brown
    March 24, 2020 / 4:40 pm

    Ouch! We’re all doing the best we can with what we have in these unprecedented times. So sorry that you’re getting judgy comments. :-/ Love your blog, keep writing!!

  24. Judy
    March 24, 2020 / 6:25 pm

    Head up, Girl…you got this! I admire your dedication and care of others…your Mom, siblings, hubbie, kids and patients. Thank you for being on the front lines.

  25. Roxanne
    March 24, 2020 / 7:48 pm

    I don’t think I’ve read a blog yet where the blogger didn’t get hurtful comments. Some are horrible and it’s hard to understand. It is a personal attack, but truly says more about the them than you.
    You have no need to change anything you’ve done or said. None of us is perfect. I think of the beautiful story of your blog’s name. When things are rough close your eyes and think of your friend who called you Pink Shoelaces. Remember the people of his church and the feeling of love they showered on you, a stranger, because they knew you through the heart of their friend. You are a beautiful person in a beautiful family. Be strong in that knowledge. Bless you, Kalissa, and hang in there.

  26. Beryl BC
    March 24, 2020 / 9:31 pm

    I often read your blog and have never commented. I commend you for all you are doing.
    As a now part time health care worker, I have read about the homemade masks and have had a lot of reservations about them, for reasons already given. Despite that, I’ve been making some and will be taking them to work tomorrow because people have been asking for them.j
    Keep up all your good work.

  27. Joni
    March 24, 2020 / 10:44 pm

    You and all the nurses on the front lines deserve so much! Respect, understanding, assistance.
    “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson You’ve got this, Kalissa!

  28. sewhappy
    March 24, 2020 / 11:18 pm

    I will look for the report I read about using the homemade masks. You were not too far off. Plus we need to remember fabric masks used to be used before the “paper” ones.

  29. Anne Simonot
    March 24, 2020 / 11:18 pm

    There was NOTHING wrong with your post. I too work in health care (we’ll be the COVID floor), albeit in support services (unit clerk). Here in Canada we’re not as desperate for supplies yet, but it’ll get there. And everyone’s stressed out. And not just nurses! Everyone in general. Don’t let other people’s negativity drag you down. You’re expressing yourself on your blog. That’s your right. I’m a sharer, so I understand.

  30. Susan the Farm Quilter
    March 25, 2020 / 3:36 am

    K, I apologize for my language in my response to that, that, stunted humanity. I’m not even your mom and I want to rip her a new one. You are doing the very best that you can in an impossible situation. This is YOUR blog and YOU get to say whatever you want and delete/block the idiots who have zero empathy for the absolute hell you are dealing with!! I wish I lived closer because I would love to take care of the boys for you and take that off your plate!

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