Nurse - St. Marianna University School of Medicine, Yokohama City Seibu Hospital
submitted by Mitumasa Arai, September 2020
I'm a Nurse in the COVID 19 Ward
Hello! I am Mitsu, 2013 ARI Graduate. I am working in the Critical Care Center of the Hospital of St. Marianna University School of Medicine in Yokohama. The hospital started accepting COVID 19 patients from an early stage when cases were found on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship. At that time, we all thought it would not continue long, but all the beds we prepared were occupied almost instantly. We also prepared depressurized rooms in a rush and the environment of the hospital changed suddenly.
Mitsu working in the COVID 19 ward of the hospital
All the medical staff have been doing their best, fumbling to treat this unknown virus, for which there were no established treatments. We have to constantly wear medical masks, caps, gloves, and gowns and that is exactly like being in a sauna. Many nurses got severe skin problems on their faces because of wearing masks for long hours and there were some who experienced psychological problems.
Although we are working hard, many patients have died. That made us feel hopeless. We got exhausted both physically and mentally because patients were increasing every day and we were afraid of being infected, too.
I received an encouraging message from ARI in such a situation. The memories of ARI came back to my mind and I felt very relaxed. I read it with my family because I received it when I went back to my parent’s home. We all cried because we were moved by your messages. Thank you very much!
I felt that what I am doing is worth doing because I was able to recall the point at ARI where I decided to become a nurse. I felt energized!
I was planning to apply to be a JOCV (Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer) next year and start working in International Cooperation which has been my dream. However due to COVID 19, recruitment has been postponed so I will continue working in the COVID 19 ward at my hospital until it settles down.
The situation is calm at this moment, but we predict we will get busy again in the winter. I would like to visit ARI when the situation allows. I am looking forward to that day.
As you can see in my photo above, I gained weight because of COVID 19 (not going out much) and my hair has started moving backwards!
Please take good precautions against COVID 19 during this wintertime!
I am Mitsu, Mitsumasa Arai, participant of 2013. Now I am working as a nurse in Kanagawa Prefecture. Before going to ARI, I majored in international culture at university. Since I belonged to the adventure club while attending university, I had several chances to visit rural areas in developing countries all over the world. There was no convenient life like in Tokyo. I felt the people had tough lives in an environment of poor sanitation. However, they helped me when I was in trouble as a foreigner. Sometimes they invited me to stay in their houses, giving me a warm welcome. I gradually started to think that I want to do something helpful for people in developing countries. I didn’t have any particular skills, so I decided to enter in ARI.
Mitsu (right) and his classmates working in the kitchen
I had so much learning and have so many memories from ARI. It is impossible to tell everything. So, I will write about the reason I wanted to be a nurse. One day, a Nepali participant, who was my classmate, was suffering from athlete’s foot. I explained that he must wash his foot well every day and showed him how to use medication. I also followed up to see if he was caring for his foot regularly. Since I was the men’s dorm coordinator, I helped other dorm residents when they caught colds. These experiences made me realize that I can nurse people who are sick or injured without difficulty. Then I thought, “If I become a nurse, I can do what I want to do.” I entered a nursing school after ARI and now I am working as a nurse at the paramedic center of St. Marianna University, Yokohama City Seibu Hospital. I work every day with the hope to one day be a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV) or join Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and be able to work in the world of international cooperation, which is my dream!