Luca Nicola 11 May 2020 4 min read

#contagiousstories: Marietta offers to volunteer

She had worked as an intensive care and cardiac surgery nurse for 16 years. Then, in 2006, Marietta Hochstrasser, 51 years old, from Breganzona (Lugano) changed her life and founded 4COMPETENCE, a company that distributes cardiac surgery products.

Her new career as a businesswoman ran smoothly until two months ago, when the COVID-19 emergency exploded and we all started to see the dramatic images coming from the hospitals.

At that point Marietta had no doubts: suspended her business, she felt the calling of her old vocation and offered to return to nursing as a volunteer in an intensive care unit – an offer that was accepted within a few minutes.

“This choice was almost instinctive. I am from the older generation, and for me, looking after sick people, as well as having to do with science, has more to do with a calling. And that is something I never lost.

Furthermore, I have grown-up children, my business had slowed down and at home, it was easy for me to keep my distance from the other members of my family: I didn’t have any particular problems”.


The day before starting, Marietta took a course on the correct use of masks and sanitizer and the hygiene standards for getting dressed for the job. Then she went straight to work.

The technical operations came naturally to her and she carried out her duties with great ease. What she found difficult was managing the human aspect that she had to deal with:

We had a huge workload, even psychological, with relatives who couldn’t even call us, because we didn’t have time to stay on the phone. I really missed this relationship with family members, as a source of information on my patients, who, being incubated, couldn’t express themselves. I always tried to entertain those taken into care with my stories from home, my children and work, in the hope of making them feel alive and be a part of the everyday life”.After working as a nurse for one month during the emergency peak, Marietta has returned to her business.

When we asked her what she had taken from this experience, she replied without hesitation: “I saw human value prevail over everything else. It was a positive and enriching experience for certain, where I personally experienced how unity, strength and the will of many people that work together for the common good can produce extraordinary results, when they truly believe in it”.


Luca Nicola

Copywriter since 1988, he began his career in De Agostini, and then chose to continue as a freelancer. Graduated in Philosophy, he is currently also a professor of Web Marketing at the Federlegno Training Center. As a communication consultant, he has been working for many clients for many years, including some large international groups. In 2012 he opened the personal blog “Mela N” where he deals with topics related to Writing, Communication, Content Marketing and Storytelling.