Nurses have been at the forefront of the struggle against COVID-19, coming into direct contact with patients while they provide vital care.

“Through the Korean Nurses Association, thousands of nurses from across the country have volunteered to relocate to areas that are most in need of medical assistance.”

“I moved to Daegu during the first wave because I believed helping out at the scene was the most valuable thing I could do.”

When the third wave hit, Jang took his services to Seongnam in Gyeonggi-do Province, where he currently works.
He had previously been wondering if he could do anything more to help at one point, even offering his house as a temporary clinic amid bed shortages.

“I got in contact with the health authorities to see if my vacant rooms at home could be made into makeshift hospital rooms. They said no, but I’m a nurse and I felt responsible for preventing anyone from dying in vain without receiving any medical care.”

The pandemic has pushed nurses, especially those in intensive care units, to the limit both physically and mentally.
Son Ji-yoon, an ICU nurse based in Seoul, remembers the death of one elderly patient she shared an emotional connection with.

“She was an old lady who passed away after quite a long period of treatment Corpses have to be wrapped in two layers of body bags and I felt awful putting her body inside.

What keeps her going is the happiness that comes from helping a patient fully recover.

“There’s nothing more gratifying than seeing a patient dramatically recover after initially thinking he or she might not make it.”

And despite all the hardships she has had to endure, Son says she and her colleagues are simply doing what must be done.

“Everyone calls us heroes but we’re really just doing our jobs. The real heroes are those who care for each other, those who socially distance and practice self restraint in daily life. Don’t forget that you yourselves are our true heroes.”

Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.

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