22 Dec Blessing in disguise in the midst of a pandemic
WSU Tri-Cities nursing alum planned to do missionary work abroad, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed his plans
By Maegan Murray
RICHLAND, Wash. – Prior to the onset of COVID-19, recently graduated Washington State University Tri-Cities nursing alumnus Nikita Fisenko had his heart set on traveling abroad as a nursing missionary in areas that otherwise would not have access to medical care.
He hoped to temporarily return to his native country of Uzbekistan to visit his homeland and relive his childhood. He hoped to also travel to Israel to apply both his nursing skill and evangelize to individuals and families.
“I believe there are countless needs around the world, and even in my hometown,” he said.
In college, he worked hard to apply the hands-on learning he received both through the WSU nursing program and through clinical experiences. He studied abroad twice – once to Costa Rica as part of a health translation program, and a second time to Peru with fellow WSU nursing students to provide care to remote communities that otherwise might not receive it. He also completed additional clinical experiences at Kadlec, which wasn’t required for the WSU nursing program after completing the experience abroad in Peru. But he said he wanted to prepare himself as best he could as a future nurse.
His hard work and passion for the field led him to earn the Outstanding Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing Student Award last December – given to only one nursing student WSU systemwide.
After graduation, he took several months to complete a program through the Youth Bible Program in Everett, Washington, to prepare a spiritual foundation in his faith, where he read through the whole New Testament of the Bible. With the pandemic that began in March, his plans changed, but he secured a position locally where he could still apply quality care to the regional Tri-Cities community.
“Being a nurse is a gift, a blessing and a privilege,” he said. “Providing holistic care is the best care, and that means physical, social, mental and spiritual well-being.”
Quality care locally
Fisenko took on a registered nursing position with the emergency department at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland in Aug. 2020, where he has continued to put his background in healthcare to good use amid the pandemic.
“Since the onset of COVID-19, my nursing skills, knowledge and training have become the best tools and resources,” he said. “As new information is released about the virus, treatment plan, and precautions, each frontline worker must prioritize personal safety as the most essential.”
He said even with all precautions taken, however, there are still risks with the virus, for both him and his family. He said his faith has allowed him the mental clarity, drive and hope to continue to provide exceptional care and provide for his family.
“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” he said. “Thus, I must stand strong in my faith that I will remain healthy and well, so I can continue to work and provide for my family.”
Compassionate care amid difficult times
Workload for nurses has certainly increased amid the pandemic. Fisenko said with the stress of the system and added stress by unhealthy individuals that otherwise would find themselves well, sometimes come unhappy patients.
He said he can add positivity to an otherwise undesirable situation through being compassionate and thorough in delivery of care, as well as with a positive attitude with those he serves and works with.
“When a patient arrives to the emergency department in critical condition, I realize it is my duty and desire to help and support the patient in the best way I know,” he said. “With the caring leadership of emergency doctors and compassionate nurses, I believe the patient is receiving the best care during their stay. Educating my patients about their health and care brings me joy and fulfillment. I want to give power of information and understanding to each patient, so when they go home, they know how to get better and continue to stay healthy.”
Post-COVID-19, Fisenko said he still hopes to use his skill in medical care and background in faith outside of the regional Tri-Cities community. He also continues to grow his knowledge for wherever life may take him.
In addition to his fluency in Spanish, Russian and Ukrainian, he is working on adding American Sign Language to the list, which he hopes to apply locally and wherever his role may take him states-side.
“I pray that God blesses me with an opportunity to go on a mission to serve people spiritually and medically,” he said. “My desire is to go to Spanish speaking countries where I could l utilize my language skills. I also want to serve the deaf and hard of hearing communities.”