MARLTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- National Nurses Day kicks off a week of celebrating the men and women of the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight.
They were honored with a drive-by parade at Kessler Rehab, Weisman Children's Hospital and Virtua Hospital in Marlton, New Jersey.
"The silver lining to all of this horror is how well people are coming together," says Christine Varner, Nurse Manager at Kessler Rehab.
We've seen the painful truth: The COVID-19 illness and death; the fight for protective equipment; and long hours.
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We've also seen the levity, nurses dancing and clapping as patients are released from the hospital.
Stephen Teitelman is a flight nurse at Cooper Hospital. He's been a nurse for 24 years.
"I was able to provide care during 9/11. When we were driving up to New York, as we approached the neighborhoods, there will be people on the sidewalks clapping. We feel that same kind of support nowadays," said Teitelman.
Nothing could prepare our nurses for what they've seen in the last two months, but the passion for caring is what pushes them to keep fighting.
"Nursing is definitely a calling. We do what we can because we want to do it, not because it's not without personal risk," says Teitelman.
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Their humble request, if you'd like to thank a nurse... do so with action. Taking care of yourself will help take care of them.
"We come to work so we can care for you; please stay home so you can care for us," said AnnMarie Papa, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of Einstein Hospital in Montgomery County.
The nursing team at Temple University Hospital says, "We feel the support and love from the city of Philadephia for sure."
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National nurses day celebrates frontline healthcare workers