CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Diana Tejada works in the Intensive Care Unit at Novant, where she's been a nurse for five years. She recently got her certification to be a Critical Care Nurse, a set of skills and expertise even more important as they help care for COVID-19 patients.
At the end of a long shift, Tejada goes home to her second job, a mom to her two kids, ages 5 and 1.
“I don't think anything can prepare you for little humans,” said Tejada.
But motherhood has shaped her experiences as a nurse.
"You think, they're a mom, they're a dad, they're a grandparent. You can't help but put yourself in that kind of position because you have children, so you think about the other people involved, because it’s not just this person, this body, it's somebody,” she said.
It was family that inspired Tejada to pursue nursing. Her grandfather had a heart attack and passed away when she was 13. She wanted to understand why that happened and help other families through that pain.
She's worked in the ICU at Novant for almost five years and recently got her certification to be a Critical Care Nurse. She completed at least 1,000 hours with critical care patients and passed a 150-question test. It’s a title that not everyone earns but it carries weight on the floor.
"It lets the providers and other people around you know you really know your stuff and that you're capable of being a Critical Care Nurse because it definitely isn't easy,” she said.
Tejada has an invaluable set of skills as she cares for coronavirus patients. She says it’s been scary because she doesn’t want to bring it home to her kids or out into the community.
She credits the other nurses who work alongside her for helping her through. And it’s that teamwork keeping Charlotte safe.
"Because of the pandemic and stuff, people are seeing what we do and that’s great, but at the end of the day, I love what I do and I wouldn't be here if I didn’t,” said Tejada.
RELATED: Celebrating nurses today and always
Now, more than ever, nurses nationwide are also turning to the public for support amid the coronavirus pandemic. Nurses, along with other health workers, are on the front line, battling the deadly virus each day. Health officials say you can help show support and appreciation for nurses and other health professionals by slowing the spread of COVID-19. That includes staying home as much as you can, keeping a safe distance, washing your hands often, covering your cough, and other good hygiene habits.
WCNC Charlotte is recognizing nurses across the Carolinas on social with #WCNCNurses and we're showcasing nurses in each of our newscasts during National Nurses Week.