ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Thursday is National Nurses Day, meant to honor frontline workers across the country.
“It’s been quite the year, that we’ve had,” said Sam Coyne, a registered nurse at SwedishAmerican hospital.
Coyne works in the critical care unit. She starts her shift by getting briefed by the night nurse about the patients she’ll be caring for.
“You walk in here like, ‘this could be a relaxing day, or it could be chaos.’ You never know,” she said.
Coyne has been a nurse for three and a half years. She says since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, nurses are now caring for more patients.
“We’ll give them their morning meds and make sure they’re comfortable, then on to the next one,” she said.
Anytime of the day, she and her colleagues have to put on and take off personal protective equipment.
“Our N95 (masks), we have to wear a shield, a gown, gloves for 12 hours a day,” she said.
Today, during the first hour of her shift, one of Coyne’s patients suffered a heart attack. She and the doctor worked together to save the patient.
“This just happens, you know?” she said. “So, we still got another 11 hours to go, so we just gotta stay strong and keep going.”
Coyne says that, despite the challenging year, she encourages others in the community to step up.
“I would encourage people to get vaccinated. [COVID-19’s] not going away. It’s still in our unit, that people are still in long-term mechanical ventilation and us as nurses, we’re still on the frontlines dealing with it, day in and day out,” Coyne said.