HawkStrong: Nurse on the frontlines of pandemic in New York
Growing up, HFC alumna Yasmin Osman spent time visiting sick family members in hospitals.
That’s what inspired the Windsor native to become a nurse.
“Nurses spend a lot of time with patients. You always remember the great nurses who take care of your family members. That inspires you to do the same for others,” said Osman, who earned her associate degree in nursing in 2018. “Now that we’re in a global pandemic, nurses are considered essential. We’re there to help people through their darkest times, especially now. It took a global pandemic to get people to realize just how valuable nurses are.”
Volunteering to be on the frontlines in New York
After two years at Beaumont Health in Farmington Hills, Osman moved to New York, where nurses are in high demand. She is now a nurse through American Mobile Nursing Healthcare at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Hudson Valley, NY. The town is on the outskirts of New York City – one of the hot zones of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I sought (AMN Healthcare) out because I knew it would be a great experience, and I would be able to help out in New York,” said Osman.
She admitted she was scared to be in the middle of one of the nation’s epicenters during the pandemic. But she wouldn’t allow her personal feelings to get in the way of doing her duty.
“I figured I was healthy and able to help,” she said. “This was the right thing to do.”
“It’s unlike anything you’ve ever prepared yourself for mentally or physically”
Being a nurse during the pandemic has changed Osman’s life.
“It is absolutely crazy! I never imagined that I’d be living through a global pandemic. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever prepared yourself for mentally or physically,” she said. “I was dealing with COVID-19 when I was at Beaumont, but not to this extent.”
Osman confessed she, like many people, initially dismissed the coronavirus as not much more than a bad strand of the flu. Then she saw it firsthand.
“Life at work changed drastically. Hospitals were on lockdown. Entire units were closed off and placed in isolation. I felt like I was in a horror movie,” she said. “You don’t know what it’s really like unless you’re on the frontlines. Being there and witnessing patients on ventilators is something I’ll take with me for the rest of my life. It’s something I’ll tell my kids and grandkids about. There are no words for what I’m living through. It’s emotionally and physically exhausting, but I’m happy and healthy to be able to help patients in this dire time of need.”
The voice and advocate for patients
Nurses are called upon more than ever, according to Osman. Many COVID-19 patients are unable to see their families, which compounds their loneliness, stress, and fear. In a sense, nurses have also become surrogate family members.
“You really do spend the most time with patients; you get to know them better than the doctors. You are there with the patients all day. You know them, you know how they act, you are their voice, you are their advocate. I have to be the voice for my patients now more than ever, especially since some of them suffering from the coronavirus are on ventilators and can’t speak. I’m grateful to be able to provide constant care throughout my shift and be able to communicate with doctors on their behalf. This is how I would want nurses to treat my family when they’re sick. Being the voice of the patient is so important, because you’re playing such a vital role in their lives, especially in these trying times.”
Despite the long hours, the frenetic pace, and being pushed beyond the limits of her endurance, there has been hope amidst the chaos. It’s what keeps Osman going.
“I’ve seen people able to come together and work as a team. I’ve seen patients turn around and beat this,” said Osman. “It’s the most hopeful thing in the world to see sick patients come off ventilators and be able to breathe on their own. That’s absolutely amazing!”
A Henry Ford College family
Osman credits HFC for her educational foundation in becoming a nurse.
“HFC has a strong nursing program,” she said. “I heard so many positive things about HFC from both my dad and my aunt. I was so thankful to be there. HFC provided me with a good education and a good transition into the real world. It’s always hard going from school to being a hands-on, working professional nurse.”
Her father, Mohamad Osman, earned his associate degree in respiratory therapy from HFC in 2005. Her aunt, Rosalina Osman, earned her associate degree in nursing from HFC in 2004. Both received a good education and encouraged Osman to pursue her education at the College.
“My dad introduced the idea for me to attend HFC. He encouraged me to leave Canada and get my associate degree in nursing. My aunt said it was a good way to start my education, and it has a great nursing program,” said Osman. She is continuing her education, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Eastern Michigan University.
Some of her most vivid memories of the College were the rigorous courses and many late nights.
“It was worth it all. I made many lifelong friendships with my classmates. The foundation of all my nursing knowledge came from HFC,” said Osman. “I really enjoyed the fact that we had a two-year nursing program that allowed us to have hands-on experience in a clinical setting. The small class sizes allowed us to have a close relationship with our professors – that’s very important to be able to experience at HFC. I am thankful for HFC for facilitating my education. Without HFC, there is no way I would be where I am today.”