BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across Alabama, one of the people who have felt the biggest impact from the pandemic have been nurses and frontline workers.

On Tuesday, UAB Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Terri Poe spoke to the media, where she addressed nursing care, frontline workers’ exhaustion, what goes into caring for a COVID patient in ICU and Acute Care and more.

“Our nurses are exhausted,” Poe said. “They’re working a lot of extra hours and they are fatigued.”

Poe said she and her staff have done all they can to reach out to the community for support and that the encouragement they have received from different people has been positive.

“Everyone is pulling for the work we’re providing,” she said.

Poe said she has been working with several organizations to get retired nurses back into the workforce.

“The retirees that are out there, we can use their knowledge,” said Poe. “We can use their skill set. They’re well trained and competent.”

The nurses will work in whatever capacity they feel most comfortable. A survey is sent out to the retired nurses to asses which areas of the hospital would be the best fit.

13 nurses stepped out of retirement on Monday, rejoining UAB staff. Poe said more are expected to join in the weeks ahead.

When asked if she feared the pandemic would deter future nurses from coming to work at UAB, Poe said she felt that the pandemic had only strengthened the mission many have always had.

“I hope that people see this as what we’re going through is what we’ve worked our lifetime to do,” she said. “Many of us train for this, not necessarily for a pandemic, but to take care of people in the greatest need.”

Watch the full press conference here.