ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Frontline workers have gone above and beyond during the pandemic. On this International Nurses’ Day, first-year nurses and veterans in the procession paused to reflect. Nurses shed some light on the lasting impact of a year unlike any they’ve ever seen.
All nurses of St. Peter’s Health Partners were invited to stand in solidarity in honor of National Nurses Week. One by one, they lit their candles and spread messages of hope.
As COVID-19 deaths continue to go down, nurses say their external fight will never burn out.
“Nurses are taught perseverance. Every day is going to be a different day. You come in and you just keep going,” said Jessica Hankle, Registered Nurse at St. Peter’s Hospital.
Nurses had to keep going as they held the hands of dying patients and had to say goodbye for many families. Nurse Emily Gray says in her first year of nursing nothing could prepare to the amount of death she had to witness.
“When the family can’t be there, you’re literally all they have. So it was definitely difficult to kind of separate the way I normally would, when I was the only person in the room with the patient,” said Gray.
“I spent two hours in a patient’s room who was actively dying and at that time family members weren’t allowed to come in. So we were in a group zoom chat, myself the patient and multiple of her family members as she took her last breath. That was very impactful for me,” said Hankle.
In a year of darkness, nurses say they will continue to carry the light for the community.
“I think it speaks volumes that after everything we have been through, we are still able to rally together,” said Hankle.
International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world every May 12 to honor the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.