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San Diego emergency nurse dances with purpose

Nurse driven to provide care, companionship
Posted at 5:50 PM, Sep 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-15 10:27:24-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- COVID-19 has brought us stories of loss, heartache, and despair. But we've also seen humanity pull together in acts of service and sacrifice.

For RN Ana Wilkinson it's a calling born from her childhood, a past not without pain.

When Wilkinson arrived in New York City in the midst of the pandemic. She was unprepared for what she witnessed. Put on the floor that night, Wilkinson was given 15 COVID patients.

Despite all her efforts, she would lose 8 patients that night. While she says some nurses quit the next day, she decided to stay and "just be Ana."

For Ana that meant an unorthodox approach to the sickest patients. She would smile, hold their hands, and dance.

Behind her mask of optimism were a lifetime of pain, loss, and sorrow. Something she tries to make better for her patients and their families.

At around three years old Ana and her family immigrated to the U.S from Nicaragua as refugees. Childhood was difficult. Her mother's alcoholism would lead to abuse. Abuse and neglect would lead to Ana being put in a foster home. Some days she went to school with bruises.

All this Ana says makes her see things differently. She believes it helps her to be more compassionate as a nurse. She is now happily married to a firefighter and has two young boys but volunteering to provide medical care where it's needed is an important part of her life. Whether it's New York City or other countries around the world, Wilkinson answers the call.

Always ready to be there in a patient's darkest hours... hoping just maybe her smile can bring light.

As part of this story Hunt interviewed Del Mar Clinical Psychologist, and international personality expert, Dr. Richard Levak. Levak has been tasked by American television series such as Survivor, Apprentice, and The Amazing Race to analyze personalities to determine capable candidates and group dynamics.

Dr. Levak has never worked with Wilkinson but provided research and analysis. He said the most important thing for all hospitalized COVID patients is not to feel alone. He says what Wilkinson is doing has huge positive affects...saying "it's a wonderful thing that she's doing."

Watch the video here.