Alessia Bonari who works in a hospital in Milan posted the photograph on Wednesday showing her in scrubs and with bruising to her face after wearing a medical mask for a long period.
In the caption, she said she was “afraid to go to work” during the ongoing outbreak but continued to do so because she was "proud" and loved her job.
She wrote: “I am afraid because the mask may not adhere well to the face or I may have accidentally touched myself with dirty gloves, or maybe the lenses do not completely cover my eyes and something may have passed.”
Bonari said she was physically tired because “the lab coat makes me sweat” and once she is dressed she is not permitted to “go to the bathroom or drink for six hours” in order to reduce any potential virus spread.
“I am psychologically tired, and as are all my colleagues who have been in the same condition for weeks, but this will not prevent us from doing our job as we have always done.
“I will continue to take care of and take care of my patients, because I am proud and in love with my job,” she added.
Bonari also encouraged Italians not to “frustrate the effort” of doctors and nurses by following the guidelines they have been issued and staying at home.
Italy is currently in a state of lockdown with mass gatherings cancelled and schools and universities closed; the county’s death toll has topped 1,000.
Bonari continued: “I can’t afford the luxury of going back to my quarantined house, I have to go to work and do my part. You do yours, I ask you please.”
The post has been liked over 800,000 times and users have shared supportive and thankful comments for all medical staff.
On Thursday Boris Johnson warned the UK that the number of suspected coronavirus cases could be nearer to 10,000 as the government moved into the “delay” phase of the response.
The prime minister said the public should be prepared to "lose more loved ones before their time".
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies