In what seems like the distant past at this stage, there were many people who worked in very serious jobs but who also took time to have some serious fun. For Terrie McEvoy Fitzpatrick, the serious fun mostly involved her Instagram account.
Terrie lived in Australia for four years working as a nurse and during that time she built up a large following on the social media site. She became – yes – an influencer, although, she told Ryan Tubridy on Wednesday, she doesn't like that word.
So, how did that work, nursing by day and influencing by night?
"Just, I suppose, really good planning. So, when I was nursing in Australia, I obviously kind of knew what my week would look like and I also had a bit of a head start as well because, you know, the twelve-hour difference…. So I was just working away at my normal job and then coming home and any jobs that I had to get done, then I’d go out and photograph them. It was hard work doing both at the same time."
Despite the hard work, her Instagram focus gave Terrie a much-needed way to de-stress after a tough shift at the hospital:
"It’s great to have that dynamic and that contrast in your life as well, like, something so serious and something ... that takes a lot of, you know, your time and effort and then, on the other hand, having something so light and fun to bounce back on."
Ok, but what is an influencer, exactly? Terrie told Ryan that it’s someone with a large following on social media who specialises in one or more areas:
"They all have a niche. So, for example, I talk about travel, beauty and fashion, so I suppose you could say I’d be influencing people to go to certain places."
When Terrie and her husband moved back to Ireland, she concentrated on the Instagram side of things. She was enjoying that but then the coronavirus pandemic hit and her very serious job skills were needed instead.
Terrie’s friend who works in the hospital Terrie is now working in got in touch last month wondering if she’d be able to get involved in the fight against the coronavirus.
"And I was like, 'Oh my god, sign me up. I’m here, like, I’m ready to help.’ So, I just had to get all my paperwork together."
And Terrie’s been working at the frontline since her paperwork was approved. Ryan asked her if she could give him an overview of what a typical day is like on the Covid-19 frontline.
She told him that the start of every shift involves getting geared up (after a full breakfast, because you never know when you’re going to get out of the PPE again) and then Terrie and her colleagues just try to provide amazing nursing care as best they can in the wildly unfamiliar circumstances for both staff and patients.
"It’s obviously awful for them because they can’t see our smile, all they can see is your eyes and, you know, it’s tough in that sense, but we get through it and we just try and keep it as normal as possible and try and keep each other, you know, the morale high, like, and bounce off each other and talk to each other. There’s a great team effort going in."
You can hear more about the remarkable work put in by Terrie and her colleagues on the frontline – including the experience of wearing the PPE for an entire 13-hour shift – in the full conversation with Ryan here.