AURORA, Colo. — They’re the caregivers of the hospital. In the midst of a global pandemic, National Nurses Day takes on a deeper meaning. These men and women continue to put themselves at risk to care for complete strangers with whom they soon develop a bond.
"I am a proud nurse and even though it’s difficult, it’s what I signed up to do," said Laura Rosenthal, a nurse at UCHealth Anschutz.
Rosenthal was asked to speak at a Governor Polis news conference on Wednesday about nursing practices and safety around the state.
"I feel privileged to be able to do that," Rosenthal said.
For Rosenthal and every other nurse around the world, their position carries an even greater responsibility.
"I have promised family that we we would not leave them, that we will hold their hand, that they will not die alone. That’s really an honor to be able to do that," said ICU nurse Michelle Moss with UCHealth Highlands Ranch Hospital.
Moss takes great pride in her work. She received a Daisy award, given to nurses who go above and beyond for their patients. One of her patients was terminally ill. He had two requests: not to die in the hospital and to see his dog one last time.
"We were able to get him outside onto our helicopter pad when he passed and we were also able to have his dog there," Moss explained.
It's acts of selflessness that make Moss and Rosenthal perfect for there profession but, when the shift is over, the profession tends to follow them home.
"Sometimes I will wake at 2 a.m., in the middle of the night, and think, 'How is that patient doing?'" Rosenthal said.
In the age of COVID-19, nurses must now take extra precautions to protect the ones they love.
"We all carry little backpacks now that we throw our masks and our shields and that just stays in the backseat of the car," Rosenthal said of the measures she takes to stay safe.
The road they chose can be bumpy, but it's a path they're glad they took.
"Being a nurse is probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever done and accomplished in my life," Moss said with a smile on her face.