FAIRFAX, VA (WSYR-TV) – Jen Taormina, now Jen Borges, starred on the soccer field at Liverpool and Syracuse. These days, she is facing off against something tougher than any defender she ever faced.
“Initially I feel it was very stressful and even quite scary,” said Borges.
“It’s a lot to put on the PPE, it’s a lot to go into the room there’s the anxiety of knowing that someone has this virus, it’s very contagious. And then still see patients throughout the day. It’s a very challenging day overall.”
The Liverpool native is a physician assistant in the emergency department at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax, VA. According to the Virginia Department of Health and Fairfax County Health Department, Fairfax County leads all of Virginia in COVID-19 in total cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Jen does feel safe going to work and feels the hospital has all the appropriate PPE, it’s when she leaves that she wants to be careful. She wants to keep her husband Gav and two daughters; four-year-old Gianna and two-year-old Elena safe.
“Anything that comes in contact with the ER is completely cleaned before I leave,” said Borges. “When I get home I shower right away, I put my clothes in the wash. And I don’t even let my shoes come in the house.”
She, of course, like all parents had to adjust to the new circumstances.
“It’s been quite a challenge my husband works from home and outside of me working I’m here with them. We did pull them out of daycare initially and so it was very challenging,” said Borges. “We get creative and come up with activities and things for them to do and just kinda take it one day at a time.”
As a young athlete at Liverpool, Jen had dreams of being a Division-I athlete. She got her chance at Syracuse. While playing for the Orange, Borges majored in Bio Engineering and named a BIG East All-Academic All Star. She balanced her schedule well and misses those days.
“I definitely had my fair share of nights in the library even on weekends, but I also remember the good times I had with my teammates and friends getting together, going to Marshall Street going to places like Acropolis for pizza,” said Borges. “I do remember those good times of just hanging out going to basketball games, we got season tickets every year. We would be die-hard fans and wait outside in the cold just to get in. So, I do think back to all of those really good times.”
While Jen had athletic dreams, the current path she is on came later. Jen got a Master’s in Engineering Management from Syracuse. Upon graduation she began working in medical sales but would interact with physician assistants during her job.
I’d work in the operating room with a lot of surgeons and our devices. I would see physician assistants working right alongside the physicians. I always asked them questions “what do you do?”, “what is your role in the medical field?”, said Borges. “It really sparked an interest in me. I knew right then and there that’s what I wanted to do. And I have no regrets going back I love my job.”
The pandemic is entering its fourth full month and states are beginning to open up. Even so, Jen wants everyone to remember all of the guidelines like social distancing, wearing a mask and washing your hands.
“We love helping patients but if you’re being careless with what you’re doing and living your life it not only affects you but it affects all of us as well.”