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Arkansas mother and daughter nurse share COVID-19 experience working in NY hospitals

Arkansas mother and daughter share coronavirus experience working in New York hospitals (Photo: Family)
Arkansas mother and daughter share coronavirus experience working in New York hospitals (Photo: Family)
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Two Arkansas nurses are helping to battle COVID-19 at the epicenter in New York, but the women have a special bond.

Uchenna Onyia-Murphy and Ona Onyia are a mother-daughter pair who both happen to be nurses.

For the past three weeks, Nurse Practitioner Uchenna Onyia-Murphy has been working tirelessly at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, not knowing what the next shift will bring.

Murphy is a mother of three kids from Nigeria. She says her other two children are concerned she might not come back to Arkansas safely.

"Every day you got into work you don't know if you're going to come out ok, you don't know if you're going to have COVID and survive it," said Murphy.

What Murphy does know is she's not in New York alone. Her 23-year-old daughter Ona Onyia is an RN who graduated from the UAMS School of Nursing in 2018. Onyia went with her mother and says her experience with the virus has been overwhelming.

"I feel like I've seen more deaths in my 21 nights than I've ever seen in my entire nursing career," said Onyia.

Onyia is working in the intensive care unit at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx. She said despite being an adult, her mother still manages to find a way to show how much she cares, and for that she's thankful.

"The other day my mom hand-washed my scrubs because I was so tired that I didn't want to go to the laundry mat, she came into my room and hand-washed my scrubs for me," said Onyia.

Murphy said watching her daughter come into her own has been rewarding but said she is still concerned about their well-being during this pandemic.

"I'm thinking am I gonna survive this, am I going to go down with my daughter at the same time it's like whoa we've made history together girl," said Murphy.

Both have said the journey has been scary and traumatizing at times but they understand that this is what they signed up for. Onyia said this has been an amazing experience to share with her mother while making a difference in the lives of other people in need.

Onyia said, fortunately, both she and her mother are staying in the same hotel, but they are practicing social distancing by staying in separate rooms.

Both have completed their 21-day assignment and will extend their stay in New York for another six weeks.

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