Anxhela is a 25-year-old junior doctor working in a North London hospital. She is also a refugee from Albania. Currently working on a respiratory ward treating patients with coronavirus, Anxhela never expected that her introduction to her profession would be a global pandemic.
“At the beginning, it was exhausting physically, but also emotionally, because there were lots of people who were very sick and lots of people deteriorating. We wanted to do more for them. We wanted to be able to offer more medicine and other treatment, but there was nothing else we could do.
“The PPE makes it hard to connect with patients, as they can’t see our faces. I bring in a photo of myself so at least they know what I look like underneath it all.
“Today, I’m working on the respiratory ward, where the majority of my patients are recovering from COVID-19. having come off ventilators in intensive care. In a way, I’m lucky now because we often get to see patients go home.
“My experience of being a refugee impacts how I do my job as a doctor for the NHS. It helps me to see people beyond their medical conditions and think about their lives as a whole. I don’t think I would have as great an appreciation for all of that if it weren’t for my past.
“Often, people are surprised when I tell them I’m a refugee. I say it proudly. I want them to question their stereotypes. I want them to know how much refugees contribute toward society. ”
Go inside a shift with Anxhela: read the photo story.