National Nurses Week begins with outpouring of support as pandemic continues

Tri-State nurses recognized as National Nurses Week begins Wednesday

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - National Nurse Week began Wednesday, and already Cincinnati’s nurses are feeling the love.

It’s needed as they continue to battle on the frontlines of the pandemic.

Patrick Kokotek, a seven-year veteran of the profession, has been dealing directly with COVID-19 patients in The Christ Hospital’s ICU.

Kokotek says he’s seen cases similar to COVID-19 in his line of work, but seeing the amount of patients with the same serious symptoms is very different.

“We do everything we can for everybody,” he told FOX19 NOW. “I mean, when people are lost, it’s that grieving that we see too. I mean, we take everything, all of this home with us. I’ve had days I’ve lost multiple patients, and we take it personally every time that kind of thing happens.”

The community’s support helps with the hardship.

Kokotek calls “unbelievable” the outpouring of support he and his fellow medical professionals have received over the last several weeks.

“It’s so heartwarming and touching to see these people... I mean, we get it a lot of the time, but it’s just been so much more, exponentially more from the community,” he said, “and it’s been unbelievable.”

From kind notes to flowers from the zoo, Cincinnati’s nurses are getting a lot of love this week especially.

“We’ve had a tremendous amount of people calling, sending us, donating food and just 'thank you; cards from elementary school students, every single student,” Kokotek said.

He adds he and his coworkers are loving all the love sent their way, but Kokotek doesn’t want to thank you in person if that means you’re in the hospital.

“We have to rely on eachother, the nurse to nurse, taking care of ourselves,” he said. “And we want you guys to take care of yourselves so we don’t see you in here.”

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