Asian Nurse Shares Her Experience of Working During the Pandemic

Asian Nurse Shares Her Experience of Working During the Pandemic

As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline workers like nurses are facing unprecedented challenges and risks. One of them is Anna Lee, a registered nurse of Korean descent who works at a hospital in New York City. She spoke to us about her journey, her struggles and her hopes as an Asian nurse during this difficult time.

Lee, 28, has been a nurse for six years and specializes in intensive care. She said she chose this profession because she wanted to help people and make a difference in their lives. “I love being a nurse because I get to see the impact of my work every day. I get to witness the miracles of life and death, and I get to be there for my patients and their families when they need me the most,” she said.

However, working as a nurse during the pandemic has also brought many challenges and dangers. Lee said she had to deal with long hours, heavy workload, lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), emotional stress and fear of infection. “It’s been very hard to cope with everything that’s happening. Sometimes I feel like I’m not doing enough, or I’m not doing it right. Sometimes I feel like I’m putting myself and my loved ones at risk. Sometimes I feel like I’m losing hope,” she said.

Lee also faced another challenge as an Asian nurse: racism and discrimination. She said she encountered several incidents of verbal abuse and harassment from patients, colleagues and strangers who blamed her or her ethnicity for the virus. “It’s very hurtful and frustrating to hear those things. I’m just trying to do my job and help people, but some people don’t see me as a human being. They see me as a virus or a threat,” she said.

Lee said she tried to ignore the negative comments and focus on the positive ones. She also found support from her family, friends and fellow Asian nurses who understood what she was going through. “I’m very grateful for the people who appreciate me and respect me for who I am and what I do. They give me strength and motivation to keep going,” she said.

Lee said she hoped that the pandemic would end soon and that people would learn to be more compassionate and tolerant towards each other. She also hoped that more people would recognize the contributions and sacrifices of nurses and other frontline workers. “We are not heroes, we are just human beings who are doing our best to save lives. We deserve respect and dignity, not hate and violence,” she said.

Lee said she was proud to be an Asian nurse and to represent the diversity and resilience of the Asian American community. She said she was inspired by the stories and achievements of other Asian nurses who have made history and contributed to the advancement of nursing and health care. “There are so many amazing Asian nurses who have done so much for this profession and this country. They are my role models and my heroes,” she said.

Some of the notable Asian nurses that Lee mentioned include May Ying Chen, who was the first Chinese American nurse in the United States and a pioneer of public health nursing in New York City; Mary Seacole, who was a Jamaican-born nurse of Scottish and African descent who cared for wounded soldiers during the Crimean War; Keiko Fukuda, who was a Japanese American nurse and judo master who became the first woman to earn the highest rank of 10th dan in judo; and Elizabeth Kim Jin-Ah, who was a Korean American nurse and activist who fought for the rights and recognition of Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II.

Lee said she hoped that more young people, especially those from Asian backgrounds, would consider pursuing a career in nursing and join the ranks of these inspiring figures. She said she believed that nursing was a rewarding and fulfilling profession that offered many opportunities for growth and learning. “Nursing is not just a job, it’s a calling. It’s a way of life. It’s a way of giving back to the world and making it a better place,” she said.

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