National Nurses Week honors pandemic heroes

As the coronavirus pandemic drags further into 2021, nurses and other hospital workers on Long Island are being honored for their dedication. They've been working day and night on the front lines of the pandemic to protect others.

"I look at the last year and I wonder how we made it through. There were points where we just felt hopeless because it seemed like there were no good outcomes," registered nurse Zabella Simos said. "I think that was the darkest part of this whole pandemic."

She and her fellow nurses were celebrated on National Nurses Day, which kicks off National Nurses Week. This is a time to publicly recognize these healthcare heroes, with an extra special emphasis this year. From Stony Brook University Hospital to Glen Cove Hospital, celebratory events are taking place all week.

"The impact that we have had with COVID on our staff, our heroes, they were here morning, noon, and night for patients," Glen Cove Hospital Executive Director Kerri Anne Scanlon said. "Sadly, patients who were passing, they stayed with them and held their hand so that no patient would ever pass without being there, being loved by somebody."

Registered nurse Patrick Zagarino said some of his experiences this past year still haunt him.

"I was FaceTiming with a family member, the mother was passing and the children were saying goodbye to their mother," Zagarino said. "And just being in that moment was a lot."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city will host a huge parade sometime in the coming months to honor all healthcare heroes.

National Nurses Week ends on May 12, which is Florence Nightingale's birthday.

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