May 6, 2020

People are the First Defense! A Conversation with Olivia

Healthcare workers are often said to be the first defense of COVID-19, but second-generation Burmese American Registered Nurse Olivia has a varying opinion. “Nurses are the last defense, not the front lines, people are the first defense, which it’s why it’s important to take care of yourself in this time.”

What do you think about the state and community’s response to COVID-19?

"I think overall Oregon has done a good job flattening the curve of those infected. We’re still preparing for the worst, which is nerve-wracking.

I think people are being more aware but it’s not entirely perfect because there’s a lot of misinformation and miseducation. Wearing the same pair of gloves all day isn’t going to help you much if you’re not washing your hands and wearing new gloves."

How do you think people have been getting their information?

"The information that’s being put out to the general public is being put out so fast, and it’s just told to people, not explained, and people haven’t been trained so that might make it more difficult for them to protect themselves.

I don’t learn best from reading, but I read all the information about COVID-19 sent to me in my email. Reading is not how I best absorb information, so it makes me think about people who are like me who don’t learn through reading and how they must be having difficulty learning how to best protect themselves."

What does leadership mean to you right now?

"Leadership during COVID-19 means making public health information more readily accessible to the general public.

This is why being a healthcare worker is important. Because we can take care of people and try to help them get better, when also taking care of the other patients we have.

But also, healthcare workers everywhere have been making information more accessible. They give the how and the why. They paint a picture for us. They make things easy to understand. It’s really nice that we have people who use their healthcare roles to simplify information - to use it better."

Where do you look for inspiration in this time?

"The nurses and doctors at the Denver protest really encourage me, and it makes me very proud to be a healthcare professional right now. I’m sure they’ve been exhausted and working a lot, and it’s nice to see people using this to amplify the movement and bring people together to protect each other."

What needs to change right now?

"People need a better understanding of how to protect one another as a community. There needs to be more education as to why it’s important to be involved in social distancing, or emergency preparedness.

It’s not just you. It’s for everyone else in the community. Mindset needs to change, but that’s always a hard thing to do, it’s not something that just changes overnight.”

Olivia's Call to Action

Protect yourself, take precautions, and listen to the suggestions and rules from state leadership - by doing so you are protecting your community, your family, and healthcare workers.

Say thank you to a healthcare worker today at 7pm by making some noise with your neighborhood, tell a healthcare worker #PDXThanksYou!

This programming message brought to you by APANO Communities United Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.