Kamusta, Frontliners? How Are You Doing?
Gari Sy Rivera | Mar 20, 2020
*Surnames have been withheld to protect the privacy of the healthcare professionals in this article
“I feel nervous and strong at the same time, my legs may be weak and tense but we have to stand strong and face the cause of this pandemic disease to provide the best quality care for our patients,” answers Bogs, a 29-year-old ER nurse from Manila.
Doctors, nurses, medical technicians, pharmacists, and other health workers go days without sleep, food, and sunlight. They are all worthy of our salutes as they face the fight against the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. As they provide aid to those affected, it is important that to check-in and nurture the wellbeing of these tireless heroes.
“Uncertain. Scared. Not really of being infected, but more about passing the infection to others, especially to loved ones,” Dr. Ivy, a medical doctor from Pasay expresses.
Dr. Emma, a dentist from Caloocan City, shares the same caution and the duty that health practitioners in the field must uphold. “I'm terrified with the pandemic we are facing, and the dangers of our line of work," she relates, "However, our service and duty to our patients will always be a priority.”
As difficult as it may be, Filipino health workers have continued to serve public health without hesitation, even as they adapt to changes in their work. “We’ve also changed the way we do things at the hospitals,” Dr. Ivy relates, “Specialty training has been put on hold because the trainees are now deployed to man in-patient floors. Specialists are also being required to practice general medicine to minimize the risk of exposure of the patients to many doctors.”
While the medical field in the Philippines adapts to the outbreak, 27-year-old Filipina ICU nurse Rachelle faces the same fight as she aids PUIs in Blackpool, UK. “I am working in a Cardiac intensive care unit with 20 beds, we have been canceling non-urgent cardiac surgeries to accommodate suspected COVID-19 patients that need to be isolated,” she describes “New protocols are being implemented every day so we need to cope with that as well.”
In the dental industry, there are countless changes as well, Dr. Emma adds. Even as the flow of patients slowed down, they are still in close contact with their patients so they must be more careful. “We're more alert to any signs or symptoms that the patients may have. Even our patients are also very careful to not crowd our clinic, offering to come back after a few hours.”
Amidst these changes and challenges to face, we must wonder, what keeps them going? Overwhelmingly, it is their dedication to their chosen field.
“My oath as a doctor, to help preserve human life,” reveals Dr. Ivy, “this is my commitment so I have to carry it out and do my calling. I have to help in my own way, to hopefully help control this and prevent my loved ones from being affected. So many people are dependent on me, I have to stay strong, my family and patients, especially the ones I’ve been taking care of for a long time. And also my colleagues at work.”
The passion for providing for their family also drives them to bravely face their mission of aiding lives.
“The drive to help and care for people keeps me working, the curiosity of what could happen next and the learnings I’ll obtain from work,” shares OFW nurse Rachelle, “and of course, being able to provide for my family.” ER nurse Bogs, explains further: “We, Filipinos, strive hard for our family to better our situation.”
Working towards improving the people’s health, these professionals find themselves learning things, still, almost every day. “You’ll always learn something new every day in healthcare," Nurse Rachelle remarks, "It’s not just about the sciences of health but also how to deal with people especially during worrying times like this.”
Dr. Ivy also discovers the same thing through those under her care. “Since I’m seeing patients who come from other doctors, I learn from them as well about other ways of managing or treating them.” Nurse Bogs has appreciation as well in the company and strength of fellow health workers. “The best thing I've learned is that your co-workers will be a big part of you in this profession," he says, "Hand-in-hand, you will help each other save people's lives.”
Acknowledging the fear in most people, these medical warriors in the frontline encourage their fellow professionals to continue and keep strength in this battle. “We’re all scared, but let’s not panic because so many people, patients, and loved ones, depend on us not to make a mistake,” Dr. Ivy encourages her fellow frontliners, “we have to keep our cool, maintain focus, and always pray that we’re doing right by our patients and families.” Maintaining their courage and strength is key. “Bravery and solidarity are all I see in all of you. May we all continue to serve, despite the threat of this disease, for our fellow countrymen,” expresses Dr. Emma. “Know that under all the sweat and PPE, it will all end," Nurse Bogs urges, "Serve with passion, perseverance, and competence. Everyday service until the eventual end of COVID-19.”