Ana W., RN — The New Icons

As Ana watched the pandemic unfold on television, she knew she had to leave the comfort of home in San Diego to help her fellow healthcare professionals in New York, NY. With encouragement from her husband and two boys, Ana joined the frontline responders in Harlem, treating COVID-19 patients day in and day out. Living in a hotel, spending many hours alone and in reflection, Ana was reminded of why she became a nurse and of our capacity for joy, even in the most dire circumstances. 

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH. I GET GOING.

WHAT ATTRIBUTES DO YOU HAVE IN ABUNDANCE THAT HAVE ALLOWED YOU TO SUCCEED? 

Hardworking, teamwork, empathy, and compassion. Nursing isn’t an easy job. Working long shifts, taking care of multiple patients in a system that is often overloaded, makes it challenging to care for each patient as an individual person with individual needs. However, I thrive when challenged and make sure that my patients are treated as people and not as numbers. 

 

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU PERSONALLY FACE AT WORK?

Becoming too attached to my patients. It’s hard to be empathetic and compassionate, treat each patient as a friend and family, and to not feel a bit of attachment. This isn’t a job that emotionally, you can turn on and off. On more than one occasion I have cried when I came home from a shift because no matter what we did we weren’t able to help someone. But I try to tell myself that medicine only goes so far. Even if patients ultimately don’t survive, knowing that I made their time spent with me better keeps me fulfilled. 

 

WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE GIVING UP – IF YOU EVER FEEL THAT WAY – WHAT DO YOU DO TO RISE ABOVE?

I don’t give up. I’m an endurance athlete and enjoy running ultramarathons not because I am a natural runner (definitely not) or even LOVE to run but because I love pushing myself past what I am capable of. When I am having a tough time, I try to think of their families and treat them as one of my friends or family. 

 

I BELIEVE THAT… Everybody is good. Even your toughest patients have redeeming qualities.  

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE IS… Living in the moment. No matter how hard you try you can’t live in the future or the past. Trying to hold onto things that are not attainable will wear you down. I try to appreciate what I have and where I’m at in life. 

SHOP HER LOOK

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