Library Of Congress Receives Health Care Workers Audio Diaries The Library of Congress acquires the recordings featuring more than 200 front-line health care workers in the fight against COVID-19. They share their thoughts and feelings during the pandemic.

Library Of Congress Receives Health Care Workers Audio Diaries

Library Of Congress Receives Health Care Workers Audio Diaries

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The Library of Congress acquires the recordings featuring more than 200 front-line health care workers in the fight against COVID-19. They share their thoughts and feelings during the pandemic.

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

In the first months of the pandemic, hundreds of health care workers across the country began recording audio diaries. They captured their thoughts and feelings as they treated patients with COVID-19.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, "THE NOCTURNISTS: STORIES FROM A PANDEMIC")

DAN DONOHO: It's March 26 in the afternoon, finally home after a fairly long day yesterday and today.

MCCAMMON: That's Dan Donoho, a neurosurgeon in Los Angeles.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, "THE NOCTURNISTS: STORIES FROM A PANDEMIC")

DONOHO: Every day, when I get to go to sleep, all I think about is, did we do enough? Were we ready enough? Did I help enough people? And I'm never sure that we're doing enough.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Dr. Donoho's recordings were among the audio diaries featured in a podcast called "Stories From A Pandemic." It was produced by "The Nocturnists," which is a company that does audio stories about the medical industry. The recordings from the podcast, along with hours of unused audio, have been donated to the Library of Congress.

JESSE HOCKING: We have over 700 raw audio diaries that will be preserved and housed at the library.

INSKEEP: Jesse Hocking is an archivist with the American Folklife Center at the library.

HOCKING: These diaries are an important self-documentation that shared a rare, intimate look into the internal lives of health care workers in the moment. They capture their doubts, fears, anger, resentments, vices, insecurities.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, "THE NOCTURNISTS: STORIES FROM A PANDEMIC")

MELISSA CHEN: Medicine, as I know it right now, is not working for these patients. And that terrifies me.

MCCAMMON: This is Melissa Chen, a nurse in the San Francisco Bay Area.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, "THE NOCTURNISTS: STORIES FROM A PANDEMIC")

CHEN: I just feel like we're treading water and I don't know how to get them out of it. And I feel like we're still not gaining any ground. It's terrible and heartbreaking. And I don't know how we're going to come out on the other side of this.

MCCAMMON: Jesse Hocking says the audio diaries preserve the rawness of the moment, something a history book just can't capture the same way.

HOCKING: The weight of having a patient's life in your hands, as one diarist put it, it's such a horrifying privilege to be a physician these days.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, "THE NOCTURNISTS: STORIES FROM A PANDEMIC")

KORAY DEMIR: It is 6:30 a.m. on April 4.

INSKEEP: The voice of Koray Demir (ph), a doctor in Montreal.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, "THE NOCTURNISTS: STORIES FROM A PANDEMIC")

DEMIR: I'm, like, sort of, like, lost in this, like, trance of phone calls. Can I come see my dad? No, you can't. I'm sorry. What's going to happen? I don't know. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. It's, like, two weeks into the pandemic, and I'm already pretty tired.

HOCKING: It's so important to get these stories told as soon as the event happens because you can't go back. They are an important time capsule that just can't be replicated.

INSKEEP: The Library of Congress plans to post the health care worker audio diaries later this year. And for now, you can hear them at thenocturnists.com.

(SOUNDBITE OF HUSHED'S "HIBERNATION")

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