These raw, real shots of nurses on the job will remind you just how dedicated these health care heroes are.

By Christina Oehler
Updated May 27, 2020
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The coronavirus pandemic has revealed a lot about our health care system, especially how crucial nurses are. Usually relegated to the sidelines, these hardworking heroes have taken center stage managing and treating the thousand of people infected with COVID-19 in hospitals, assisted living centers, and other settings. In honor of National Nurses Week, we're highlighting some of the dedicated nurses showcased on social media who are giving their all to help others.

The nurses who put their pain second

Marissa, a nurse anesthetist from Phoenix, posted a selfie to Instagram on April 5 that showed her face covered in marks from her PPE gear. But the uncomfortable rash from her mask is nothing compared to the uphill fight she and other nurses experience daily.

"This pandemic had such opportunity to empower nurses, collaborate, heal.. but instead we are drowning... each day comes with less support & more responsibility," she wrote in her caption. "We haven’t even hit our peak yet but we’re told it’s coming. How envious we are of those 'bored' people that are forced to have to work from home. But we continue to go to work because we have to. Deep down we want to."⠀

The nurses who keep going through heartbreak

Nurses bear witness to the harrowing final moments of life. Meredith, a nurse from Philadelphia, shared one of those moments in an emotional selfie. On April 25, she explained that she had just heard a mother say goodbye to her daughter over the phone because she was unable to visit the COVID-19 unit.

"I just made a phone call from my patient's room to her daughter. The daughter was effectively saying goodbye. She will likely never see her mother again," she wrote in her caption. "Listening to the love in the daughter's voice was the most beautiful and heartbreaking experience. I could not hold back the tears."

Meredith's touching post received over 20,000 likes and hundreds of comments. "The greatest gift a nurse can bring is comfort in a patient AND family’s time of need," one commenter wrote. "You were the bridge and from experience that daughter will take that memory with her everyday for the rest of her life."

The first-year nurses starting their career during a pandemic

On May 7, Hillary, a nurse from Detroit, shared a selfie of her face covered in lines from her PPE. She explained that she never could have anticipated how tough her first year as a nurse would be. But the long hours and difficult shifts are all a part of the job, one that she and other nurses love to do, she noted.

"My first year of nursing has been a crazy year of highs and lows. The struggle to gain confidence in yourself while feeling like you don’t know anything most days has not been the easiest," she wrote in her caption. "Even though the last couple months have been really hard and challenging mentally and physically, I have truly never been more happy and proud to be a nurse than I am right now. I’m so thankful to work with a really amazing unit that no matter what kind of night we have, we still find a way to smile and laugh."

The nurses who are moms and moms-to-be

While many women choose to work throughout their pregnancies, pregnant nurses working right now face extra challenges. Marissa, a cardiac nurse from Carson City, Nevada, shared a mirror selfie on April 3 explaining that even though she's 35 weeks pregnant, she's still working full-time throughout the pandemic.

"I constantly have people asking me why I’m still working while pregnant since I work in a hospital as a RN," she wrote in her caption. "My answer? I love what I do and am being as safe as I can be to protect me, my unborn child, and my family at home. I am very cautious, but I also won’t let fear keep me from doing what I love."

The nurses who just won't give up

Emergency rooms across the country are handling critical COVID-19 cases, in addition to people suffering from other life-threatening health issues. Sometimes, the whole situation is just overwhelming. Katie, a nurse from Concord, New Hampshire, took to Instagram on April 26 to share her experience with the daily pressure she feels and advised other nurses to give themselves much-needed TLC to get through it.

"Nursing is hard. Nursing is exhausting. Nursing challenges every part of your being," she wrote. "Through all of these new changes and the crazy demanding times we are currently living in I have realized how very important it is to take care of yourself first."

"Remember that you have to take care of yourselves first if you want to be around to take care of your patients," she added.

Instagram via @katie_begin

The nurses who celebrate with their patients

While their jobs require heart-wrenching work, watching a patient recover brings them joy. Suzette, an intensive care nurse and financial educator in Los Angeles, shared a sweet photo of celebration on May 8 as she walked a COVID-19 survivor out of the hospital.

"Nothing like ringing in #nursesweek with a #COVID19Survivor showing us 2 thumbs UP!!!" she wrote. "Moments like these...make the hustle & bustle ALL worth it!"

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