Nur Azzah, A Singaporean Frontliner: “I stay away from my kid to save lives.”11 May 2020
“…and because I don’t want him to get infected.”
Recently, we spoke to Nur Azzah, a 28-years old Singaporean nurse about how the pandemy has affected her job as a nurse, the daily challenges she faces as a frontliner while at the same time being a mother to her 4 months old baby.
How is your work now compared to before?
It is more difficult now to protect all the patients. For example, when we have a new patient that either has not been tested yet or waiting for the test result, we have to be ready to isolate him/her at any time.
We also have to keep in mind to not put infected patients with non-infected one in one room, or we will put all their lives at risk. The other challenge is that we don’t know how long this will last and what will come. Before this pandemy started, we’d only treat patients who needed intensive care, but now we get everything.
Do you wear special protective wear when you are working?
Yes, we need to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), for sure, which includes mask, goggles, gowns, gloves and shoe covers. Some of us also wear additional face shields. We also face difficulties when we wear this equipment. The first problem is we have to be careful not to expose any part of our body at work despite having to move around taking care of patients.
This heavy protective equipment is very very very hot. It feels like you are wrapped in cellophane. (On the other hand), the goggles and mask will also leave a mark on our face that lasts quite long.
What is your biggest challenge working as a medical worker?
This is a very difficult situation for all of us since we don’t know enough about this virus. We’re still trying to figure out how to cope with this. Another challenge is, which is also the biggest challenge for me, I need to stay away from my kid, who is just 4-months old baby, because I don’t want to put him at risk. But I know that I stay away from him for a good reason, to save people’s lives.
How do you overcome the obstacle of being away from your family?
In my spare time, I usually make video calls to my son, to communicate with him, to see him giggling and smiling. Even just to see him okay, it makes me so much better and forget the tiredness.
How does it feel working on the front line during this pandemic?
I feel good to know that I can help and be able to make a difference during this situation. When I’m at the hospital, I know that things sometimes will go unexpectedly and I will feel exhausted, but at the end of the day, I remind myself to be grateful as I’ve contributed to our community.
What advice would you give to people during this crisis?
Stay at home. By doing this, you won’t be exposed to infected people and you will also help the medics. If you can help slow down the spread of the virus, then the medics are able to handle the patients with their needs.
I know that it is very difficult to stay at home, but this is something that you have to do for the sake of our community. The more people get this virus, the more risk escalates in our community. And the longer we are stuck in this threatening situation.
Due to the covid-19 outbreak, many medical workers are separated from their families and loved ones to prevent risk of being infected. Many of them feel not only physically but also mentally drained because of working overtime and uncertain things about the virus.
On World Nurse Day, May 12, let’s send our gratitude for the countless frontline healthcare workers, who are working to prevent worse outbreaks and develop treatments.
Gifts are greater than words