Navigating the Pandemic as a Nurse

By: Victoria Barzilai 
Being a nurse was something I always wanted to be. From a young age, I have felt a desire to help others and that has continued throughout my adulthood. I became a nurse in 2016 and have worked at Keck Medical Center of USC ever since. I’m an abdominal transplant nurse so I care for patients who need a liver or kidney transplant. My patients are on my unit pre and post transplant so they are very critically sick and their immune systems are weak. The last four years have been an amazing experience of learning, growing, loss, success and everything in between.
In March, the whole world flipped upside down and I felt it most in the hospital setting. The chaos and panic that was felt in the hospital in the first few weeks of COVID-19 was an anxiety I had never felt before. New protocols, temperature checks at the doors, masks at all times. I luckily take care of patients that are immunocompromised, so they have tried to keep COVID patients far away from my unit. I have had to swab countless patients for the virus, have had to be in full gear from head to toe, but have always felt protected and supported! My heart truly goes out to all medical personnel who have had to wear an N95 mask for 12 hours a day, who had to separate from their loved ones, and who had to watch countless patients die alone in the hospital. This job is not glamorous - it’s emotionally, physically, and mentally draining, but it’s all worth it. I’m so proud to be a nurse and proud to lend a helping hand whenever I can.