‘All of you are heroes’: Nurses Week takes on extra meaning after 'challenging' year

After more than a year of unknown, hope finally shines through at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota.

"It's been, to say the least, a challenging year. We’ve seen a lot over the last 14 months," said Dr. Todd Haner.

In March of last year, the hospital diagnosed the first COVID-positive patient in the state.

"All of you are heroes. Those of you that are in healthcare. You come every day, you show up and give your best," said Haner, the chief nursing officer.

For nurses like Diane Campbell, her role became even more vital.

"There's a lot of education that needed to be done. People just didn't understand and at first, we didn't even understand. It was so new," Campbell recalled.

Campbell, an ICU nurse, said, at times, the situation felt hopeless.

READ: COVID-19-sniffing dog adds extra layer of protection at Sarasota hospital 

"You would go home and you would cry. When you're quiet and driving home in the car and think of all the people that you tried to help and you couldn't," she said.

As time progressed, improvements in medicine gave them more treatment options. They began to save more lives. But the vaccines give them the most hope.

"It doesn't seem like that hump is so high that you have that hurdle so high that you have to get over. They are still sick. Yes, we still do what we do, but we have more positive outcomes now," said Campbell.

To show that hope, more than 300 paper flowers line the entrance of Doctors Hospital. It's part of the ‘Flower of Hope’ ceremony to pay tribute to nurses during National Nurses Week. Each flower contains a handwritten note. Yellow flowers signify hope, while red flowers represent heroes.

READ: Nurse reflects on changes after a year of coronavirus

After 14 long months, the job of Campbell and others isn't finished. But their commitment is stronger than ever.

"It just means that we got over the hump, and there is hope. And there are things out there that work. People are getting better and we can send them home to their families now whereas in the beginning we couldn't at first," Campbell shared. 


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