Putting their own lives at stake, Turkish nurses continue to save others' lives as they battle the coronavirus on the front line.
Anadolu Agency (AA) reporters witnessed the difficulties all 300 nurses have to go through each and every day at Türkan Özilhan State Hospital in western İzmir province.
These “white angels” are celebrating International Nurses Day on May 12 this year by spending more time on duty.
As patients demand the medical staff not leave their side, nurses must always wear protective equipment. Every ambulance siren symbolizes a life to save, as nurses rush to keep them alive and well.
After gathering wipe samples, nurses send COVID-19 patients to the relevant department where they will receive treatment.
Despite all the protective equipment, the risk of infection is real. Braving all odds, nurses continue to do their job with all the energy they have. They reassure infected colleagues and do everything possible to cheer them up, and they even stay at student dormitories out of fear that their close relatives will contract the virus if they stay home.
In the intensive care unit (ICU), the situation is even tenser. ICU nurses put on an extra layer of protection before going in.
One of the nurses who was previously infected with the virus, 27-year-old Gizem Temeltaş, told AA that the strong fight and precautions against COVID-19 have led to declining figures.
“When I see that the cases have dropped, I feel motivated. Even a single less patient means hope to us. I have just yet realized once again how sacred our job is. People bring me food and they leave their seats to me in public transportation. It is inevitable to be sentimental after all this,” she added.
Another nurse, Kezban Deniz, underlined the difficulty of having to stay away from her parents and her child.
“I’ve missed hugging my child so much,” she said.
“We had an intubated COVID-19 patient. ‘You are too young, be strong,’ I told him. I knew that he was hearing my voice, then I saw him blink. My friends and I applauded him for this,” she said.
Sabire Yaman, a veteran nurse working in the field for 26 years, said she dreams of hugging her son.
“One day my son wanted to hug me and I told him we could not due to the virus. ‘How can there be a virus between a mom and a son?’ he asked me. I burst into tears. What I want from people is that they stay home until this pandemic is over. They should stay home and ensure that we come together with our children again soon,” she concluded.
A 31-year-old male nurse, Ahmet Gökhan, also spoke to AA, saying that he has chosen his job to “make people happy.”
Underlining that nursing shouldn’t be perceived as a women-only occupation, he said that this perception has largely changed.
“We nurses see the pandemic as a war. At first we panicked on the battlefield but we adjusted later on,” he said.