Dana Plotkin, age 57, drives jeeps over the harshest terrain, rappels down cliffs, and scuba dives. But Dana’s greatest challenge is being a nurse in Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem’s COVID-19 Outbreak Unit.

Dana’s family immigrated to Israel from Leningrad, Russia, in 1978. She was 15. After graduating from the Henrietta Szold Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Nursing, Dana worked in Hadassah’s cardiac surgery recovery room and Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit. After the birth of her first child, Meital, she began working in neonatal care and then became the medical coordinator of Hadassah’s in-vitro fertilization egg donation program.

When the coronavirus reached Israel, Dana volunteered to work in Hadassah’s COVID-19 Outbreak Department. “I get real satisfaction from being part of this historic fight,” she says. “On my first day, a very elderly woman wanted to thank me for connecting her to her daughter at home via a video call, but she didn’t have the strength to talk, so she took my hands and kissed them. I just cried.”

When Dana is not on duty, she relaxes by driving an all-terrain vehicle off-road in the Israeli countryside. Aside from traversing Israel’s most rugged terrain, she has “torn it up” in Jordan, Georgia, and Iceland. “I’ve made so many friends,” she says. “I take my two daughters with me. It’s a wonderful way to get to know this land that I am so proud to call my home. I come back to work ready for a completely different pace and fortified to bring comfort to those who need it so much right now.”