HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Usually, when Elvira Hernandez is in her scrubs, she is helping others as a Los Angeles-based surgical nurse.
But this time, after a long year of tireless service throughout the pandemic, she is getting the service. She is being treated to a facial by dermatologist Dr. Jason Emer's office as a thank you on National Nurses Day.
She says serving as a nurse, especially throughout a pandemic, requires a mentality of selflessness and humility.
"It's a caring, a rewarding feeling, to be with patients, whether they are ill, or healthy, having surgery, you know, just seeing them through a process," Hernandez said.
Hernandez nearly lost her mother-in-law to COVID-19 and yet, still worked full-time as a nurse to support her husband and two children.
"As a mother, you know, I always put myself last. I have a 21-year-old and a 19-year-old and my husband, caring for them, putting them first all of the time. It kind of feels nice to get spoiled," she said.
The spoiling includes a hydration facial, which Hernandez says her skin could really use. Throughout the pandemic, she was constantly afraid that her work as a nurse would endanger her family, bringing home the virus.
That's why it was important for Dr. Jason Emer and his team to give back to front-liners, many of whom have had very little time for self-care.
"We know during this global pandemic time, our nurses have been working extremely hard to take care of all the patients, and because of that, they have so much stress. I really wanted to give back to one lucky nurse who works really hard," Emer said.
Hernandez is one of many front-line workers who endured the greatest risk of exposure throughout the pandemic, many having lost their lives. She said she is grateful to have hers.
"It's risky, but this is what we signed on for. Your patients are your No. 1 priority. I would pretty much risk it all," she said.