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Profile: Young nurse comes of age in Wuhan

2020-October-4       Source: Xinhuanet.com

For Liu Jiayi, a 20-year-old nurse, the city of Wuhan is significant in many ways. It is the furthest distance she has ever been from home, and the month she spent there battling COVID-19 was the longest period she had been away from her parents.

For Liu Jiayi, a 20-year-old nurse, the city of Wuhan is significant in many ways. It is the furthest distance she has ever been from home, and the month she spent there battling COVID-19 was the longest period she had been away from her parents.

Liu comes from the city of Huizhou, Guangdong Province, about 1,000 km south to Wuhan. She was the youngest member of the medical-assistance team dispatched by the province to assist with Wuhan's battle against the novel coronavirus.

She volunteered to join the team during the Lantern Festival in February. Finishing her night shift, she took off early the next morning.

"If I hadn't been able to go to Wuhan, I would have regretted it," said Liu, describing her feeling on seeing the urgent message summoning medics to Wuhan. "It was the first major decision I had ever made without discussion with my parents."

Liu was sent to a makeshift hospital in Dongxihu District, and her main battlefield was a six square-meter room connecting the contaminated areas with the clean ones. Here, she helped other medical workers, cleaners and security guards take off their protective gowns and disinfect their personal items.

Due to her young age, she was very much in the media spotlight. During one interview, she insisted that she was not "a child that needs the help of others." Giving the thumbs-up gesture for her colleagues and herself, she said, "The moment I put on the protective suit, I am no longer a child."

Simple as it may seem, Liu's work demanded the utmost care, especially when removing garments and tapes.

"If you move too quickly, it will produce aerosols containing the virus, and you might get infected when they stick to your hair," said Liu.

There were also scary moments.

Once, Liu had difficulty breathing and had to stagger along the wall to exit the room. After taking off the hazmat suit, she found her arm had turned a dark color due to lack of oxygen.

Another time, when disposing of medical waste, she accidentally pricked a hole on her glove, which made her nervous for several days.

In daily video chats to reassure her parents, Liu described herself as something like a goal-keeper in a soccer match, doing her best to guard the safety of medics inside. What she did not tell her parents was that she wept sometimes, due to missing home and the immense pressure of her work.

"I have completed my mission and lived up to the trust people placed in me. I feel my youth became more meaningful," she said after fulfilling her duties in Wuhan in March.

As Liu Jiayi's story spread online, she was applauded and admired by many. However, she did not view herself as a hero, but as an ordinary person doing her duty in the battle against the epidemic.

Back at her familiar job at the Huicheng Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Huizhou, she signed up for some correspondence courses and began to study online, with a view to deepening her knowledge and advancing her career. She also began to share her experiences through local schools and universities, with a view to inspiring other young people.

"If I used to be ignorant and confused, now I have grown up and know more about responsibility and values. I will strive to progress and continue to work hard for the health of the patients," said Liu.

Editor: Ariel

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