Bronx nurse practitioner honored for her work by hospital, recalls pandemic's warzone-like conditions
At just 15 years old, Bronx Nurse Practitioner Ardita Sopi had already experienced so much loss living in war-torn Kosovo. Now, she says feelings came flooding back during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bensonhurst resident has worked at St. Barnabas Hospital for eight years, most recently as a nurse practitioner in its occupational Health Services Department.
Last year, the hospital honored her as its 2020 Employee of the Year for her work providing physical and emotional support to staff -- some of whom died from the coronavirus.
"Being in a warzone, you really don't know whether you're going to wake up the next day and be able to go to school or not or whether you're going to be able to see yourself graduate,” said Sopi.
Sopi arrived in the United States in 1999 after living for a few months in a refugee camp in Macedonia. She says she spoke no English but realized America offered her an opportunity to fulfill her dream of being a nurse like her mother.
"For me seeing the difference that my mom was making in others' lives, I was kind of in awe that I wanted to be the same way. I wanted to make that difference,” said Sopi.
She says her next goal is getting a doctorate and contributing to the society that she says has already given her so much.