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Guangxi nurse's dedication brings her recognition

By ZHANG LI | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-04 07:07

Guangxi nurse's dedication brings her recognition
Du Liqun is occupied with her nursing routine, as well as preparations for the upcoming 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China to be held in Beijing.

Guangxi nurse's dedication brings her recognition

Serving as head nurse of the AIDS department at the Nanning 4th People's Hospital in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, the 52-year-old was one of the five Chinese nurses awarded the Florence Nightingale Medal in 2015 by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Since her graduation in 1984, she has been engaged in nursing infectious disease patients.

When the hospital opened the first AIDS department in the autonomous region in 2005, she offered to assume the position of head nurse, as nobody dared to face the risk of exposure to HIV.

"I know even doctors are afraid of being infected, but it's still necessary to have someone undertake and change the situation," Du said. "Fear is not invincible. Neither is HIV."

The first challenge came in August that year when the department received an AIDS case complicated by severe skin disease. Du donned her protective suit without hesitation and cleaned up the skin inch by inch, even though the ulcer was so unbearable that the family left him alone.

She kept nursing the patient in this way for a dozen days until his health improved.

"I believe that every life should be treated with dignity, and AIDS patients are included, of course. We should not give up easily," she said.

According to Du, among her patients are quite a number of drug addicts, who tend to be more sensitive and full of self-contempt.

"Apart from the danger of occupational exposure, offensive behaviors happen now and then in the ward. An irritable patient can be as dangerous as a criminal," Du said.

She remembered well a morning in 2006 when she was dragged out of bed by an emergency call: a drug-addicted patient named Qiang held a young doctor with a knife against her neck and threatened to infect her with AIDS.

Du drew closer to him and kept talking with him casually, listening to his needs with patience and managing to calm his rage.

Attracted by her professional skill and dedication, more and more young nurses like to work with her, and the team has expanded from an initial eight people to over 80.

Wishing to draw more attention to the prevention of AIDS, for years she walked into schools, communities and construction sites to demonstrate and explain face-to-face how people could protect themselves from the virus.

Although given numerous honors, she thinks herself an ordinary person.

"The real magic thing in my life lies in meeting President Xi Jinping," said Du proudly.

In 2015, she attended a meeting with Xi as a representative of the Zhuang minority.

"The president attaches great importance to the development of minority groups and praises our contribution to ethnic unity," Du said

"From then on I realized that my career doesn't only affect people's health, but also the stability of society."

Soon she will leave for Beijing to assume her responsibility as a delegate to the 19th CPC National Congress.

"I am looking forward to the great political event, since I am given a new mission to fulfill-that is to express the people's will and strive for a better society, which I think is what makes me really proud," Du said.

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