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A day in the life of nurses working with COVID-19 patients

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — To observe the kickoff of National Nurses Week, we’re shining a light on the local heroes working the front lines, hearing first hand what it’s been like working with COVID patients and what nurses have learned throughout all of this.

Despite all the challenges and the pressure they face, nurses come ready to serve, filled with compassion and pride in the work they doing.

"You know, it's been a whole mix of emotions," said Dan Bartolovic. "There are times where you feel overwhelmed, there are times you feel scared, but a lot of the times it's also kind of inspiring to be here and work with this team and really get back, back to why we all started working in healthcare and, and help these patients when they're at their most scared point, a lot of these patients are more scared than they've ever been. And especially with how everyone feels in the world right now it can be overwhelming for them and it's good to know that I can come in there and not really give them a right smile because I have a mask but at least brighten up their day somehow and get them through this experience with us."

Sami Toft, a local RN, discussed the emotional toll this time has and the importance of coming together.

"Every day is different for you don't know what we're going to expect," said Toft. "And sometimes it can be scary. Some days you cry, some days you laugh. It's more than just helping people it's being with them, especially during this time where visitors aren't allowed. Sometimes just simply shaving a patient holding their hand and just being there, being their light. It's super emotional because like my grandma was here like I saved someone the other day. They cried because it was like the first time they felt human and we are human. We are supposed to be together during these times."

They also said they can't thank the community enough for all of their support. And more than anything, what means the most is when patients from their floor are able to recover and go home.