10 Doctors and Nurses Reveal What It's Like Fighting COVID-19 Every Day

These medical professionals are risking their lives to help others during this unprecedented crisis.


While the coronavirus pandemic has affected virtually everyone in some way, few have been hit harder than members of the medical community. These dedicated doctors, nurses, and other hospital staffers are risking their lives on a daily basis to ensure that patients can get treatment—often without the gear they need to stay safe. If you want a peek into life on the frontlines of this pandemic, read on to see what nurses and doctors fighting coronavirus are experiencing. And for ways you can make a difference, here are 7 Small But Effective Ways You Can Help in the Fight Against COVID-19.

1. This doctor, who tested 150 patients in a single day


With COVID-19 cases surging in California, doctors at Malibu Urgent Care stepped up to heed the call, partnering with the Malibu Foundation to offer drive-up testing to 150 patients in just one day.

2. This doctor, who came up with a novel way to reassure her patients


In an attempt to help keep her patients at ease, Peggy Ji, MD, decided to put her photo and personal information on the outside of her personal protective equipment to lend the look a friendlier touch. And for some stories of ingenuity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, check out these 13 Heartwarming Quarantine Celebrations for Special Occasions.

3. This nurse, whose work during the pandemic further affirmed her career choice


Lenny, a Nevada-based nurse, managed to see the bright side of the pandemic—the care she's been able to provide has made it clear she's in the right line of work. Despite the danger she's in every day, Lenny said of the experience, "We give our hearts out to those in need…I, in no doubt know I stand in the right place at the right moment."

4. This nurse, who said she'd "never been more grateful" for her protective equipment

While protective equipment may be standard for most doctors and nurses, the coronavirus pandemic has drastically limited the availability of necessary supplies, like masks and gloves. As such, Sandi, a nurse in Oregon, expressed her immense gratitude for the mask she received at the beginning of her 12-hour shift.

5. This nurse, whose face mask left her skin marked up after a long shift


This nurse named Sarah took to Instagram to show her followers the marks her protective mask had left on her face after a long shift. She detailed the intense routine she had to follow to keep herself and her patients safe, including bleaching everything from her goggles to her shoes.

6. This nurse's aide, who convinced a patient with COVID-19 to keep fighting

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I had a +covid19 patient cry, just discouraged and saying "get this thing out of my body, what does it take to get it to leave." She cried and I just sat there, at one point I tried to encourage her to keep fighting, she looked at me with tears rolling down her face and promised she would. I watched another struggling through the symptoms of this virus. I had some moments tonight and I was nervous, what if I bring something home. I know I'll pull into the driveway and sit alone in my car for a minute and just hope I don't bring anything through that front door and all the what if's that come along with it. Despite all of that this is what it's all about, losing it a little or a lot sometimes, catching your breath and coming right back to care for those who are sick and in need. I am inspired by my patients. #authorlife #climberlife #healthcareworkers #virus

A post shared by Beth Tremaglio (@bethtrem20) on

It's not just the fear of catching something from a patient that can be so trying for medical professionals. Health care worker Beth Tremaglio revealed on Instagram how difficult it was to see her patients suffer, but how important it was for her to keep fighting alongside them. "This is what it's all about, losing it a little or a lot sometimes, catching your breath and coming right back to care for those who are sick and in need," she wrote. "I am inspired by my patients."

7. This doctor, who noted how exhausted his coronavirus shifts had left him

Rob Scanlon, MD, addressed the virus itself in a moving Instagram post in which he admitted the likelihood that he might become ill. However, despite his worries, he made it clear he wouldn't let fear deter him, writing, "I will spend every ounce of energy fighting every battle."

8. This doctor, who said the virus had fundamentally changed the relationship between doctors and patients


Tori Jaeger, DO, noted that the lack of definitive testing for many patients, who were simply assumed to have coronavirus, created a major shift in the trust she felt her patients had in her. "Practicing medicine a month ago looked different. There was a sanctity in the patient-physician relationship and our encounters. Will we ever get this back? I sure hope so," she wrote.

9. This doctor, who detailed how the virus upended the way medical professionals are working

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Every day things are changing. My relatively predictable workdays are now full of uncertainty as things change every minute to accommodate a rapidly changing situation. With all the information on the news and media about the impact of COVID and deaths of other Residents, Physicians and other Healthcare workers, I admit feeling a bit apprehensive when I learned that I was being recruited to work in the ICU taking care of COVID patients on life support. I have worked in the ICU several times and I am usually quite comfortable in that environment—caring for critically ill patients. But this is different. Nothing I could ever imagine. 24 beds now turned into COVID ICU with other floors in the hospital following suit. Every patient is fatally ill, fighting for their lives. At any time they can decompensate and die… and there's nothing you can do about it. You can't predict it either… some are young, some are old, some are healthy, some are sick, some are white, some are black, some are females, some are males. Unfortunately, there's no rhyme or rhythm to it. Anyone can be affected, anyone can die. • • There's a lot of information circulating about COVID 19 but nothing beats experiencing it upfront and in person…monitoring labs daily and making changes to medical therapies in hope of some improvement—any improvement…calling family members to update them on the status of their loved one or having to tell them their family member may not make it…returning to work the next shift to learn that some have died and been replaced with others and now the cycle begins again. • • Despite all of this, I'm still hopeful. I continue to show up to every shift and take care of my patients. I practice with compassion and faith. I perform procedures and administer therapies in hopes of saving a life. I do what I can as a doctor, as a humanitarian—because that is what I was called do.

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Cynthia Anunobi, MD, admitted that her work was "relatively predictable" most days, but the COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed day-to-day hospital life. While Anunobi said she remains hopeful, the outlook is bleak: "Every patient is fatally ill, fighting for their lives," she wrote. "There's no rhyme or rhythm to it. Anyone can be affected, anyone can die."

10. This ER nurse, who called each day "a little worse"

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The marks on my face say it all. Started our shift with an intubation & ended the same way. I just finished a 5 day stretch & even though our volume is down thanks to the shelter in place the patients we are seeing are majority are covid like complaints. This stretch I've seen seemingly stable patients crash in a matter of an hour, more white out x-rays than I can count, patients with oxygen saturations of 85% leaving against medical advice to go back out into the community. It's real, it's happening, each day I feel like the number of patients, how sick they are, the preservation of PPE is getting getting cranked up a notch. Each day a little worse. I'm thankful for 7 days off coming up but acutely aware that seven days in the time of covid is basically a lifetime. . . . . . #ernurse #covid2020 #covidnurse #errn #rnlife #pandemiclife #ednurse #emergencymedicine #frontlines #shelterinplace #nursesofinstagram #ernurses

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Though the coronavirus curve does seem to be flattening in some areas, doctors and nurses on the frontlines are still seeing an influx of desperately sick patients. ER nurse Tori called each day in the hospital "a little worse," describing in vivid detail just how quickly patients are going downhill. And if you want to learn more about COVID-19, check out 13 Common Coronavirus Questions—Answered by Experts.

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