A Conversation With a Ukrainian American ICU Travel Nurse

March 24, 2022 | Clinician Stories

Yuliya is a Ukrainian American ICU travel nurse. Born in Ukraine, she immigrated to New York when she was nine years old. She shares her experience working throughout the pandemic and how the current conflict in Ukraine is giving her back flashbacks to her childhood.

Aya: Tell us about your experience working as a travel nurse this past year?  

Yuliya: Being a travel nurse gives me the opportunity to continue to do what I love [nursing], while also providing me real, dedicated time to step away and recharge with my family. I’m a mother to three kids and I honestly never thought parents could do it. But we can. To be able to show your kids new things, and experience core memory moments together, that’s what it’s all about.

Aya: As a Ukrainian American, how are you feeling given the current conflict in Ukraine?

Yuliya: What’s going on now is scary, traumatic, and very surreal. I lived through Chernobyl, and I still have family in Ukraine. With Russia’s recent invasion, we are constantly worried about our loved ones’ safety and wellbeing. My son came home the other day and said, ‘Mommy, Russia did this to Ukraine,’ and it literally brought flashbacks to when I was a little girl.

I’ve been a nurse for fourteen years. I worked throughout the pandemic in trauma units. I’ve seen and experienced it all. While I’m expected to be stoic and always professional at work, the crisis in Ukraine has decades of suppressed feelings, emotions, tragedy, and memories staring me right smack in the face at home. Seeing everything unfolding in front of me, is history is repeating itself.

Aya: What has been helping you and your family cope during these tough times?

Yuliya: Personally, now more than ever, having dedicated, uninterrupted time to talk with my kids about what’s going on and spend time together is priceless. Family has and always will come first.

Professionally, my recruiter Melissa has been caring and thoughtful during such an uncertain time. She’s provided a sense of certainty and normalcy, and it’s relieving.  I’ll never leave nursing because I’m doing exactly what I love: helping and supporting people in need.

Aya Healthcare stands in support of Ukraine and the courageous actions of the Ukrainian people. We’re taking significant steps to aid our team members and their families affected by this crisis. We donated $100,000 to the UN Refugee Agency and the World Central Kitchen, actively working to provide humanitarian aid to families in and fleeing this conflict. Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, and we hope for a swift end to this violence.

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