As the pandemic wore on, some New Yorkers reinvented themselves as entrepreneurs, artisans or online instructors teaching everything from yoga to Yiddish. Then there’s 27-year-old Chime Dolka. She, too, launched a new career—as a nurse’s aide in a Brooklyn nursing home.
Resting in the park last week following a long shift tending patients while wearing enough PPE to defend a medieval warrior, Ms. Dolka said she’s fulfilling a dream. “There is one thing I really want to do, that I want to accomplish with my life,” she said. “Be a good nurse.”
People like Ms. Dolka are hard to find these days. The 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds—the education and job-placement arm of the city’s big healthcare workers’ union—says job orders for certified nursing assistants rose 25%, last year, to 1,000. And as some nursing homes became hot spots for Covid-19 outbreaks, the positions got harder to fill.
So who are the venturers stepping up for the job?
Ms. Dolka grew up in a remote Tibetan village. Her mother fled to Queens after getting in trouble with Chinese authorities for entrepreneurial activities, she says. Ms. Dolka joined her mother in 2016.