RICHMOND, Ky. — For nearly two years, health care professionals have battled COVID-19 day in and day out. The pandemic brought along stresses and challenges, but many, like Dr. Taylor Dunn, are actively working to balance their lives between home and work.

What You Need To Know

  • Dr. Taylor Dunn and her colleagues have battled COVID-19 day in and day out

  • For nearly two years, they’ve worked hard to save patients’ lives

  • Dunn and other health care professionals strive to balance their lives amid ongoing surges

  • She said her patients’ well-being and health progress run through her mind even during her off time

During her off time, Dunn often bakes. As she prepped some of her mother-in-law’s famous no-bake cookies in the kitchen, she recalled the balance that her husband brings to her home life.

During her off time, Dr. Taylor Dunn often bakes. On this day, she's making her mother-in-law's recipe of no-bake cookies. (Spectrum News 1/Khyati Patel)

“I’m super, super fortunate to have a husband that loves to cook,” Dr. Dunn said. “So he makes sure that when I’m working every day, I come home, there’s a warm meal for me. And the least that I can do is make sure we’ve got dessert.”

The internal medicine doctor works seven days a week at Baptist Health Richmond, taking care of patients battling COVID-19.

“When I’m off and not working, I enjoy baking. Of course, he enjoys reaping the benefits of that as well, but it is very therapeutic for me,” Dunn said. “It’s a controlled environment, something that I know as long as I do this, this, this everything will turn out like it needs to, which in the hospital is, is not necessarily the case.”

She strives to separate her home and work life, but the burden of emotional strain isn’t always easy.

“A lot of times the emotional effects of taking care of covid patients won’t really set in until that week off,” Dr. Dunn said. “So when we’re working, we’re going from patient to patient, talking with families dealing with the emotional brunt of the severity of their illness, having to carry the load of not only the patient’s fears but of the family’s fears and concerns as well.” 

Even during her off time, her patients run through her mind, concern for their well-being and improvement. 

“The tears that have been wept for patients not at the bedside, but here in my home with my husband,” Dr. Dunn said. “The fears of are we able to are we ever going to be able to have any type of cure for this or further treatments beyond what we’re doing right now.”

For about two years, Dr. Dunn and her colleagues have battled COVID-19.

“Now this has become second nature,” Dr. Dunn said as she puts on PPE. “We do this so many times throughout the day that now you feel naked without having it all on.”

All the while, saving patients’ lives at every instance.

“These CAPRs are really, really nice. It allows the patients in to still see your face and see your expression when you’re talking to them,” Dr. Dunn said as she puts on a respiratory protection system. “Which is, I think a lot better for their healing and for them to see that I’m a person and not just someone that’s behind a mask or covered up with all of this stuff.”

So in between COVID-19 case surges, she hopes to strike a balance.

“I don’t think [COVID-19 is] going anywhere,” she said. “And so we have to continue to try to take care of ourselves so that we can continue to be that support that we need to, for not only our patients and their families, before our staff, and for each other.”

Because, for Dr. Dunn, care for her patients’ well-being rarely leaves her mind.

“They tell you their fears, they tell you their concerns,” Dr. Dunn said. “Grown men that are strong saying, ‘I’m scared.’ But it’s the things about their families or about who they were beyond these four walls, beyond the oxygen in their nose, that stays with you.”

A majority of Dr. Dunn’s career has centered on COVID-19. She completed her internal medicine residency at lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in June 2021 and continues her practice as an attending at Baptist Health Richmond.