Genoa – They were the heroes of the fight against Covid: doctors, nurses and all health professionals, acclaimed and then – in some cases – forgotten. Figures that, however, also in Liguria are increasingly difficult to find among staff shortages, training courses not always online with the demands of the world of work, economic conditions that suffer from private competition.
Beyond some specialist medical figures, the problem is above all the shortage of nurses and family doctors. In the first case (yesterday was the International Day dedicated to nurses, celebrated in Liguria by President Giovanni Toti with at least symbolic recognition) according to the estimates of the Order of Nursing Professions, they are a thousand professionals who would serve in Liguria: of these, 700 will come from the new competition launched by the Region, and will be added to the 14,624 workers registered with the Order. In the second case, however, there is in Liguria a shortage of at least 100 general practitioners and by the end of the year there will be 160.
According to the latest estimate, there are at least forty areas lacking and the Region has published a notice to find 165 doctors to be included in the ranking. But wearing a doctor’s or nurse’s smock is not like stamping a card: without rhetoric, for many it is really a mission
Svitkana Panok with a diploma in general medicine
Svitlana Panok: “I was a child in Chernobyl, being a doctor is my life”
Svitlana Panok was a child when the disaster struck in Chernobyl on the night of April 26, 1986. Today she is one of 43 graduates (29 women) in the training course in general medicine in Liguria which has just ended in Genoa with the discussion of theses final, in view of the subsequent agreement to the national health system. An injection of fresh forces that are terribly needed, on the unguarded front of basic territorial health care.
The times in which the figure of the old mutualist was mocked in Alberto Sordi’s memorable films are very far away, today to be a general practitioner you need very strong motivations. And, behind a white coat, there is often a story.
“My hometown, Chernigov, is 70 kilometers from the plant, in the region bordering Belarus 150 kilometers north of Kiev. And we have all suffered the consequences of radiation: sick people, deaths among friends and relatives ». So, growing up, for Svitlana there was only one goal, to become a doctor and face suffering at the forefront. Enrollment at the University at 17, graduation at 23. So the specialization in epidemiology. “For nine and a half years I worked in a hospital in my country, dealing with the consequences of Chernobyl day after day. I have touched them with my hand, I have seen people get sick and die. Even friends and relatives, we were one step away from the plant and the tragedy involved everyone ».
Then a very private turning point in Svitlana’s life, the move to Italy where her two children are born. Today the eldest is attending the last year of scientific high school, the second the third of a technical institute. In Italy, there is also the painful discovery that the degree obtained at home is no longer worth anything. “We are immigrants, the school system is very different and the recognition of qualifications is almost impossible. I had to re-enroll at the University e I have a second Italian degree“.
Many hours of medical attention, the first substitutions in doctors’ offices and a permanent post as a prison doctor at the La Spezia prison. Finally, three years ago he enrolled in the general medicine course of the Region.
What will change in his life? “I await the publication of the lists of areas lacking general practitioners to apply, I want to be useful and apply everything that I have learned with great pleasure and desire in recent years”.
Then a glimpse into his private life. “My whole family is in Ukraine, I have many friends there. And since the Chernigov region is on the border with Belarus, the invasion overwhelmed it: 70% of the buildings were destroyed by bombs ». The question is inevitable: did you not have the desire, as a doctor, to return and care for the wounded? “In the early hours, yes, it was an instinct, then I thought I might be more useful here.” To new Italian friends and, at the same time, to her people. So Svitlana has opened the doors of her home to refugees (a person who has arrived from Kiev has been with her for three months) and continues to help financially her family of origin but also youthful companions who today have nothing left.
Daniela Repetto in the reception center for Ukrainians in Ugovizza
Daniela Repetto, volunteer after retirement: “Me, a nurse by mission. We need the joy of helping “
«Our job is a mission, you have to have the desire to help others inside. I am a nurse and I will always be, even now that I have retired. ‘
From Gaslini to the welcome center of Ukrainian refugees from Ugovizza, a stone’s throw from the border between Italy, Austria and Slovenia. Always with the same passion and the desire to help others, especially children. Daniela Repetto is from Genoa, lives in Sori, and is 60 years old, of which “forty-two spent working as a pediatric nurse at Gaslini”. First in intensive care, then in the pediatric emergency room.
Last December 1st she retired, but his work stuck to him, like a dress that you cannot and do not want to give up. And then she enrolled in Cives, the coordination of volunteer nurses in health emergencies, a structure that collects the adhesions of nurses – in service or retirement – who want to help out in delicate situations, under the aegis of the Civil Protection. «I signed up because I carry my profession inside, and I wanted to continue being a nurse even after I retired»Says Daniela, who yesterday brought her testimony to the celebration of the International Nurse’s Day which was held in the Region. Once enrolled in Cevis, Repetto received the call for a particular mission: to go to the reception center of Ugovizza, in Friuli, to give aid. «I returned from there on May 2nd after eight days, and as soon as I can I will return – she says – It was one of the most beautiful and touching experiences of my life. In many years as a pediatric nurse at Gaslini I have seen many, many experiences have touched me but the thrill of seeing and helping children who arrive there without a lifewithout anything, it was tremendously beautiful ».
Her eyes fill with emotion when she remembers “a 16-year-old boy, a violinist, who in that situation, in a reception center where desperate people arrived, took out his violin and played first the Italian anthem and then the Ukrainian one. I still shiver thinking about it. ‘
An experience in which strong bonds are born, even with people who up to that moment did not even know each other. “As with Sonia: we had never seen each other but we immediately bonded, she is a volcano”, Daniela continues, speaking of Sonia Ricciu, another nurse who works at Villa Scassi, in the Psychiatry ward, and who has already been twice in the Ugovizza reception center and is preparing to leave for the third time. When you speak, Daniela Repetto gives back the sense of a profession.
But nurses, in Liguria as elsewhere, seem increasingly difficult to find. “I believe that to do this job you need to have the desire and the joy of helping people, it’s not just a job like any other, even if difficult and tiring – comments Daniela – Still today there are children who have become adults who write to me, or who came to visit me at the Gaslini. And this is worth more than any salary, they are the truly beautiful things in life “.