"Speaking from experience I can honestly say that things are not getting any better or easier on healthcare workers.
"We are all exhausted. We are not okay."
The WA native returned to her "regular" job as a nurse in 2022 after finding love (and fame) on The Bachelor and has since been open about the difficult return to work.
She and Locky took a year off to travel around Australia in 2021 following their success on the show in 2020, so she escaped some of the worst of the pandemic.
They then settled in Perth, where Irena returned to work in the healthcare sector and was confronted with the devastating effects of the pandemic on nurses.
"When I left Melbourne and left nursing I was going through a really rough time during COVID, but I was also very burnt out in general," she told WHO in March, adding she has a "hard time going back".
"And then going back I was so excited... but I've actually started to get anxiety going back, because when I got back to nursing in Perth they were just at the beginning of the pandemic."
Confessing that she went into "full panic mode", Irena said the job was more stressful than ever and her new post suggests that hasn't changed months later.
WATCH: Locky Gilbert's birthday video for Irena
"Two years ago healthcare workers around the world were thrown into it and it was sort of like fend for yourself and good luck, so at least this time I know what to do and what not to do," she added.
She and Locky have returned to Melbourne in the months since, settling in a new home they plan to renovate together and announcing their engagement in June.
This article first appeared on our sister site, Now To Love.