This Nurse Took Off His Protective Gear After a 36-Hour Shift and the Photo Speaks for Itself

Have you ever wondered what a healthcare professional looks like after a 36-hour shift fighting coronavirus? Well, a photo on Reddit is giving Internet users a unique look into just how grueling a long day battling a global pandemic can be.

Reddit user U/currynrice9728 shared a photo to the subreddit r/pics on Monday night, which shows a different side of healthcare. The image features an unnamed healthcare professional who had just worked a 36-hour shift. Yes, that's a day and a half with no sleep due to the need to care for COVID-19 patients.

In the photo, the man is wearing a normal pair of scrubs, which he had on underneath COVID-19 precautionary gear for the entirety of his shift. The scrubs are soaking wet, clinging to the man's body. Whether from stress, a lack of sleep or the heat from all the protective wear, the man appears to have sweat through his scrubs. Still, though, he's posing with a mask-covered smile for the photo.

Before it surfaced on Reddit, the photo originally appeared in a Turkish article that also quotes the unnamed man. Apparently, he's tested positive for coronavirus and is experiencing symptoms, but is still required to appear at work again. "I have to work even if I am sick, nobody cares and I really lost my faith in me," reads part of the quote, when translated into English.

Long hours aren't necessarily a rarity for healthcare professionals. Doctors and nurses are known for taking day-long, or more, shifts. And that concept is concerning to some. The leading comments on the Reddit photo question how the long hours are beneficial for healthcare professionals and the people they care for.

Covid Nurse
Nurse Canan Emcan shows a test kit for coronavirus samples at the isolation ward of the Uniklinikum Essen university hospital in Essen, western Germany, on March 9, 2020. Getty/INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

"Not gonna lie, I don't like the idea of anyone doing medical treatments for 36 hours," u/TooSmalley wrote. The comment was upvoted by nearly 4,500 people.

A healthcare worker chimed in. "Honestly you get used to it," explained u/sevksytime. "We would regularly do 24+ hour shifts and at the end of the shift I was usually able to catch things that the fresh people weren't. You're just 'on' and caffeine heavily and crash after. Not something I would ever voluntarily do again, but I easily can if I have to. A lot of places do these long shifts so that there's overlap for patient care between the 'old' team and 'new' team."

There are few things about facing a global pandemic that non-healthcare workers truly understand. We can sit back and imagine the grueling hours trying to save lives, or try to sympathize with the idea of daily loss. We can even hear the term "36-hour" shift and recognize that that sounds exhausting. But we'll never really know. Photos like this, though, give us a glimpse of just what it's like to work so hard to help people get through an incredibly challenging time.