6 Nurses Who Inspire Us in Honor of National Nurses Week

Each year, National Nurse's Week is a time to honor those who spend their days saving lives, making patients smile and bringing comfort in times of lost hope. This year, though, it goes without saying that nurses are sacrificing more than ever to help patients find peace and health in desperate times.

Since the start of this pandemic, the internet has been flooded with stories of lovely, kind and hopeful nurses. It's also showed some of the devastating side effects of their daily routine, from face wounds from extensive mask wearing, to crippling moments of exhaustion and anxiety.

In honor of those nurses who put their lives on the line to fight through a pandemic and those who have helped us all, our families and our friends in the past, we'd like to say thank you. Thank you for stepping up when the rest of the world steps down from social life and normal routines. You are truly heroes.

Nurse
Nurses in the COVID-19 unit of MedStar St. Mary's Hospital check the fit of protective equipment before entering a patient's room March 24, 2020 in Leonardtown, Maryland. Win McNamee/Getty

Here are some of the most inspiring stories we've found of kindhearted, brave and incredible nurses around the world.

Claire, the Charge Nurse

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This is Claire. On the front lines of the pandemic in New York City, she's a Charge Nurse working nights in a COVID-19 ICU. She's also a close family friend. ♥️ The other day, Claire helped a very sick and scared COVID patient breathe with an oxygen mask so he could have what would ultimately be his last conversation with his family. He was intubated immediately afterward. Later that night, he was clinging to life when his doctor put his family on speaker phone so they could tearfully say goodbye. Unable to respond, he died shortly thereafter, with his nurses at his bedside.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Claire is working five nights per week to help her struggling hospital while also training new nurses. She's exhausted and worried about what's to come; they're forced to reuse masks and face shields to cover their N95s until they fall apart. But she tries hard to keep morale up for her overwhelmed team. They've become family, she says.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ "I know how hard this time is for everyone staying at home, but please realize how lucky that situation is," Claire reasons. "Consider how you would feel if you gave someone a virus that could cause them to die alone in a hospital--whether it's your friend or their doorman or the stranger in the elevator."⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ "...we hear family members say their final goodbyes over the phone... we see a son die while his mother is upstairs, still intubated, fighting COVID..."⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Claire does, though, see glimmers of hope. A man recently improved while on a ventilator, and the decision was made to extubate him. The first thing he did was thank Claire profusely for her care... and ask for his wedding ring.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ He cried as he put it back on.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣Thank you, Claire, for your your courage, sacrifice and service. You're a hero. ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣♥️⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ (If you’re a medical professional on the front lines, please send your selfie *and story* to kelly@kellyinthecity.com with the subject line “SELFIE.” The idea is that sharing these stories will help to humanize the pandemic and encourage people to stay home when possible so that our healthcare system doesn't collapse. Now more than ever, these real-life heroes desperately need our help.) #stayhome

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Instagram blogger Kelly Larkin (@kellyinthecity) has used her page to spotlight some incredible nurses and doctors who are fighting Covid-19 on the front lines. One of them is Claire, a Charge Nurse who's working in the ICU to aid patients fighting coronavirus.

In addition to just working a super stressful job, Claire is responsible for training new nurses. She told Larkin what society can do to help. "I know how hard this time is for everyone staying at home, but please realize how lucky that situation is," she said, in the comment on Larkin's post. "Consider how you would feel if you gave someone a virus that could cause them to die alone in a hospital—whether it's your friend or their doorman or the stranger in the elevator."⁣⁣

Lizbeth, a recent grad BSN, RN

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To the people who want to film my hospital: We just intubated 7 people and coded 3, two unsuccessfully, in the last 2 hours, all possible COVID-19⁣ ⁣ In my ER we’ve had a bit of a lull, I won’t lie. We had mornings where very few patients came in but each patient that did come in was very critically ill requiring all of our attention. We used to see 200 patients a day, now we see about 100. It’s been an eerie feeling, just waiting for the inevitable wave to hit Los Angeles. We kept hearing it was coming, we’d been warned, we’ve been trying to prepare as best we can and now it’s here ⁣ ⁣ Today is the first day where the surge really has hit us hard. Just as we intubate one patient, another two patients roll in with a sat of about 70s to 80s even with oxygen. We can hardly keep up today and it seems like it’s not going to let up⁣ ⁣ To those that think this isn’t real, I see you. I once really thought like you as if this was just another flu season. Just a bad bug that’ll never get to us or even make a dent in my life but y’all, I was naive...this is a different beast. I’ve never seen patients decompensate so quickly and it strikes true fear to be with these patients up close ⁣ ⁣ Please stay safe, please stay home, please wear a HOMEMADE mask when going to necessary errands because me wearing my mask for 1 week may turn into 1 month if the public keeps hoarding and buying medical masks. And lastly, stop trying to film hospitals saying we’re not busy, ɪ’ᴍ ᴛʀʏɪɴɢ ᴛᴏ ᴋᴇᴇᴘ ʏᴏᴜʀ ʟᴏᴠᴇᴅ ᴏɴᴇ ʙʀᴇᴀᴛʜɪɴɢ 🥽 Edit: unfortunately just added one code and one death to the count

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On her Instagram, Lizbeth details the things she's seen that not many people have. "To those that think this isn't real, I see you. I once really thought like you as if this was just another flu season. Just a bad bug that'll never get to us or even make a dent in my life but y'all, I was naive...this is a different beast. I've never seen patients decompensate [sic] so quickly and it strikes true fear to be with these patients up close."

Eva BSN, RN and Friends

Eva Machado fills her Instagram with hopeful messages, including this one about how she could write a book about Covid-19. "Yes we will have our stories (I already have so many Alec thinks I should write a book), but I want us to look back and say we found something in this time. That we leaned on our team. That we grew. That we showed up and thrived in our purpose, even through the dark hours and the tears."

G.Wooten MSN, RN, CNL, CCRN-K

This nurse pointed out that WHO declared 2020 the year of the nurse, with confusion. "Not quite sure what they meant by that. Did they foresee that it would take a pandemic for the WORLD to finally realize just how vital our profession is to humanity?"

This Nurse Who Took A Self-Care Moment To Dance

when you’re a nurse but a moarmy at the same time 🥚🤣😁 @BTS_twt @TXT_members pic.twitter.com/7raUrVEmmx

— gly ♥︎ (@_yeonjimin) May 7, 2020

Though the world of Covid-19 sounds like a horror movie to those living on the front lines, this nurse found a moment to listen to their favorite music, and we're happy about that.

Dami, RN

New Here! HAPPY NURSES WEEK! We are the true Heroes! #TogetherAgainstCovid19 pic.twitter.com/gOBm2AIVXG

— Dami (@Dami_TheRN) May 7, 2020

New to Twitter, Dami posted a photo of themselves and declared that nurses are the real heroes: and they're completely right.