Healthcare workers are the true heroes, battling the deadly Covid-19 pandemic to ensure that Malaysians remain safe.

Healthcare workers including doctors, nurses and assistant medical officers are the country’s first line of defence, which places them at high risk for infection.

As for Nurul Hani Adam, it is a daily routine that she must go through. “Nobody really understands the emotions and turmoil that we face in dealing and treating Covid-19 patients.”

As a staff nurse at a public hospital and assigned to the ward that treats positive Covid-19 patients, Nurul Hani acknowledges that she faces life-or-death situations every day.

The mother of two understands the enormity of the pandemic as she has gone through the “experience” herself. During the first wave of the pandemic, she came down with fever, severe cough and breathing difficulty, which are common symptoms of the virus. Fearing the worst, Nurul Hani decided to have herself tested for Covid-19.

“It felt as if it was the end of the world when I was placed under the 14-day home quarantine and classified as a patient under investigation. The three-day wait for the result was torture and I cried myself to sleep every day. I was fortunate to have a supportive family, with my mother taking care of the children during the quarantine period.”

At the end of the 14-day quarantine, Nurul Hani was given the all-clear and was back to work almost immediately.

Working the night shift, she only has a day off a week as the hospital is short-handed with the many Covid-19 cases it handles. Even the labour ward was turned into a Covid-19 ward. It is a standard operating procedure that no more than three healthcare workers are allowed to attend to a Covid-19 patient placed in an intensive care unit.

“This is to minimise contact and spread of the virus,” says Nurul Hani.

She says it requires great resolve to go to work every day, not knowing if she will the next person to be infected. To boost morale, Nurul Hani and her colleagues would say their prayers together before starting their shift. “Everyone on duty will help each other don the personal protective equipment (PPE) before entering the Covid-19 ward. It is a ‘war zone’ in there, so we need to be physically and spiritually prepared.”

As of 17 April, 275 healthcare workers have contracted Covid-19, according to statistics from the Health Ministry. Of the total, 199 cases were linked to community spread, while 50 others have been linked to the management or treatment of coronavirus patients.

“Not all is bad, however. During the quarantine period, I was able complete my assignment for my Master of Nursing programme with OUM,” says Nurul Hani.

OUM President/Vice-Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Mansor Fadzil said the University is proud to be part of the nation’s frontliners including healthcare workers, army and police personnel.

He shares that over the years, the University collaborated with the Malaysian Nursing Board, Medical Assistant Board as well as the Army Institute of Communications and Electronics (IKED) to train nurses, assistant medical officers and army personnel, respectively.

“Many of these graduates are serving the country selflessly and we are proud to be able to help them progress in their career through the programmes we offer,” Prof Mansor concludes.

Click here to find out more about the Master of Nursing programme.