Voices From the Front Line: Q&A with Nurse Nabil Sadoq

Volunteer Story
Volunteer nurse Nabil Sadoq comforts a patient during screening at a 2019 Operation Smile Morocco medical mission in Agadir. Photo: Margherita Mirabella.
Volunteer nurse Nabil Sadoq comforts a patient during screening at a 2019 Operation Smile Morocco medical mission in Agadir. Photo: Margherita Mirabella.

Our promise of improving health and dignity during the COVID-19 pandemic endures. We're helping front-line health workers stay safe, nourished and empowered to better serve their patients by providing life-saving supplies and equipment, as well as remote training to bolster their response. We’re also providing nutritional assistance, hygiene kits and virtual health services to support people and their health needs so they can thrive. If you can, when you can, help us keep our promise to care for children and create hope for tomorrow.

Despite the risks and challenges he would undoubtedly face, nurse Nabil Sadoq was one of the first people to volunteer to work on the front line in his hospital’s COVID-19 response unit.

Like so many other health care workers around the world, Nabil received specialized training and adopted new procedures and protocols that allow him to safely and effectively care for patients affected by the coronavirus.

“Working as a nurse during this pandemic is almost like going to war. I do it because if I don't, nobody else will,” Nabil said. “I love being there in front lines for COVID-19 patients, and I’m very proud to be able to hold their hands while they are fighting through this.”

Simultaneously, he and his fellow nurses serving on the front lines remain optimistic in spite of not only facing the constraints of fighting a pandemic with limited resources, but attempting to treat a virus that the world knows very little about.

“Never lose hope. Hope is the bridge to life's positive outcomes,” Nabil said. “I want to continue to be a positive ray of sunshine that brightens someone else's day.”

We recently sat down with Nabil to learn more about how his experiences as an Operation Smile volunteer aid him in his efforts of caring for COVID-19 patients as well as what it means to him to be a nurse serving his country.   

Nabil stands in front of the doors that lead to his hospital's COVID-19 response unit. Photo courtesy of Nabil Sadoq.
Nabil stands in front of the doors that lead to his hospital's COVID-19 response unit. Photo courtesy of Nabil Sadoq.

Q: What inspired you to become a nurse?

A: “I really love helping people, and especially if those are children, there is no better feeling in the world. I want to do something in my career that is challenging, interesting and makes a difference in people's lives daily. In nursing profession, you deal with many aspects of patients care, and I enjoy the variety in the routine.

“Today, all nurses are fighting in a war against COVID-19, pulling long shifts and putting themselves at a risk of infection to take care of patients who are in need. I wish that all nurses will be appreciated after this pandemic.”

Q: How did you become involved with Operation Smile? What inspires you to continue volunteering as a nurse with the organization?

A: “I discovered Operation Smile Morocco through a colleague who worked with me in the same hospital. I decided to get involved, to take on a new challenge and experience in life. After participating in two missions with Operation Smile Morocco, I really loved helping others, creating smiles on children's faces.

“I’m very proud to be a part of a wonderful and skilled medical team to serve who are in need. Now, I have many friends all over the world, I miss them so much and I hope to meet them in other missions after this pandemic.”

Q: What have you learned from being involved with Operation Smile that’s helped prepare you for responding to COVID-19?

A: “The first thing we learn from Operation Smile is the volunteerism. In my hospital, I was one of the first volunteers who chose to work at the COVID-19 unit.

“Like all Operation Smile missions, in which the objective is to create smiles, it’s the same principle that I use with COVID-19 patients, to reassure them and doing the best to see the smiles on their faces. I started working in the COVID-19 unit in the same way as we worked in the Operation Smile missions. It helps us to reduce stress despite the workload.”

Q: What limitations have you and your other medical professionals faced?

A: “In the beginning, we received little knowledge about the coronavirus. That made us very anxious for our safety and the safety for our families. We were afraid of bringing the virus home. Also, the personal protective equipment are very limited – masks, protective suit, gowns, hand sanitizer.

“This pandemic has a major impact on the economy. Sectors have already been hit hard like industry, agriculture sector and tourism. Many families have been affected by this pandemic crisis. Thousands have lost their jobs either temporarily or definitively.”

Q: What motivates you to continue working to provide care during this difficult time in your country?

A: “I get motivated and inspired when I see my patients getting better, happier and they are able to come back home. I’m very proud, and I feel good to know that I’m useful. I can make a difference. I can help others who are in need. I want to continue to be a positive ray of sunshine that brightens someone else's day.”

Q: In Morocco, how have your efforts as a nurse been redirected to combat the need during this global COVID-19 crisis?

A: “The majority of nurses left their families to work in COVID-19 unit. Some of them found themselves working in departments they never practiced in before, learning new routines and exposing their lives to danger.

“There is no greater sacrifice than this.”

Photo: Margherita Mirabella.
Photo: Margherita Mirabella.