As a medical physician at Houston Methodist hospital Anh Nguyen is working shifts in the emergency department. Here she tells 35 Thousand how it has changed her life so far.
Tell us about your work…
“I’m an emergency medicine physician in Houston, Texas. I work for Houston Methodist Hospital, the best hospital in Texas for many years running. I love my job. I get to take care of the sickest patients, work with inspiring colleagues, and make a difference in the community.”
What’s your context outside of work?
“I live with my husband and our 2-year old daughter. We love traveling and being active.”
What is your normal day to day life like?
“Work, reading, crossfit, playing with Kennedy. We love outdoor activities such as hiking and going to the park. We dine out often and we try to travel once every 2 months.”
What is your day-to day life like now currently during COVID 19?
“Work has ramped up significantly with COVID- 19. In addition to shifts in the Emergency Department, I am working with my colleagues to update processes to prioritize staff and treat critical patients.
We spend many hours researching treatments and clinical recommendations as our knowledge on this disease evolves daily. I also work remotely from home doing telemedicine.”
How has it impacted you personally and professionally?
“It’s profoundly impacted every minute of my life both at work and at home. At work, being on edge all the time is very mentally draining and exhausting. I am constantly trying not to infect myself and my family members.
At home, it’s nice to all be together, but we all feel severely limited in our movements and activities, especially with a two-year old. We know that we are among the lucky ones to still have jobs and our health, so we try to keep things in perspective. On the bright side, this is the most time we’ve ever spent continuously together.”
What are you finding challenging?
“Everything. Figuring out how to work from home, managing my anxiety, and amusing my toddler.”
Where are you finding hope and optimism?
“In all the helpers all in society – everyone is making huge sacrifices. There is nobody that has not been negatively affected by this in one way or another, but so many people have reached out to volunteer their time and efforts to support those of us on the front line.
I really appreciate small businesses donating products and food to help out healthcare workers even though their businesses are taking a huge economic hit.”
How are you getting through?
“Exercise and leaning on friends and family. I also treat myself with sweets and a glass of wine every day.”
What is your mindset about how to use your time at home? Do you hustle harder with newfound time, be still and soak up the gift of time or dive into unexplored creative pursuits?
“I have had actually way less free time as my daughter is home all day (she usually spends a lot of time with her grandparents and has her usual classes and activities). When she gets to bed, I try to write. I actually wrote a children’s book on how she must be feeling at this time.”
Personally how are you managing your mind and wellbeing and that of your family?
“We try to compartmentalize and dedicate time each day to be “COVID- 19 conversation-free.” We figure out what we can control and focus on that. We exercise together and play together. Kennedy has never had more new toys in her life.
For myself, I try to reach out to my friends and colleagues if even to video chat for 10 minutes. I also try to journal, if I have time.”
Despite all the negatives and the brutality of the virus are there positives you feel are coming out of this – a silver lining perhaps?
“The speed of research and collaboration with doctors and scientists internationally is nothing short of incredible. We have never had access to this much data instantly. I have learnt so much from our global colleagues in China, Italy, NYC, etc. We are all using social media and groups as a way to disseminate knowledge and commiserate with each other. We are truly all in the same boat, and we all believe we will get through this together.”