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Hear their stories: National Nurses Week in Toledo

Two Toledo nurses talk about the changing landscape of the medical field during the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affected their lives personally and professionally.

TOLEDO, Ohio — It may come as a surprise after the burden the COVID-19 pandemic put on healthcare workers, but registered nurses in the Glass City feel morale at the hospitals is better than ever. That's what they said when we checked in with them for National Nurses Week. 

"We almost feel like this nurses week is like kind of a kick off to getting back to basics," said Sherrie Periatt. "Getting back to the basics of what nursing is about and caring for people in the traditional way that we've always cared for people."

Clinical nurse manager, Periatt has been at Mercy Health St. Vincent's for 31 years.

During the pandemic, she said she wore several hats, taking on many roles within the hospital.

Something Melissa Smith at ProMedica can relate to. She's been a registered nurse for nearly five years now. Most recently, getting promoted to a leadership position.

"I think we've all very well learned to adapt to those changes," said Smith.

Both nurses say it's been a tough two years in the health field. But it's made them grow in ways they never saw coming.

"We need to build resilience," said Periatt. "Resilience is facing adversity and facing stress and fear and coming out on the other side stronger."

The American Nurses Association reports there are more than 4 million registered nurses - making them the largest group of health care workers in the U.S.

Smith says right now, the RNs she works with are proud to be on the job.

"This is a great week just in general and everyone is just truly starting to feel I think happier in general being a nurse and being a part of nursing and being a part of health care," said Smith.

To nurses everywhere: thank you. Not just this week, but every week.