BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — For National Nurses Week there are people across the country showing appreciation for nurses, some of healthcare’s most essential workers.

In the midst of a nationwide shortage, nurses are in high demand across the board, especially coming out of the pandemic.

A survey from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing shows about 100,000 nurses left the field due to stresses of the pandemic.

The survey stated hundreds of thousands more are projected to leave in years to come due to high workloads, stress, and burnout.

With the current shortage, multiple healthcare organizations are in great need of nurses to continue caring for patients.

In February, the Craig Crisis Care Center in Birmingham experienced this struggle firsthand as they were forced to delay opening due to a nurse shortage.

Today, they are open. Registered Nurse Rogenea Skipper said their staff is still not completely full, but they are very effective with their care.

“It comes with what you’re ingrained with as being a nurse and what you’re taught,” said Skipper. “You know, it’s part of the nursing process you’re brought up with that makes you be able to spread yourself thin and do the job.”

Skipper said handling that pressure on the job comes with the mentality of serving others the best they can regardless of the circumstance.

She said she chooses this field because of the impact made through caring for patients.

“Oh, just helping people, helping to make their lives better in every way that you can. You know a lot of times it involves saving people’s lives so it’s very rewarding,” said Skipper.

Skipper said she appreciates all of her fellow nurses who are dedicated to their job and is thankful for new help from those entering the nursing field.

Nursing student Abbie Grace Barber is working towards becoming a nurse with enthusiasm. Inspired by her grandmother, Barber said she’s always wanted to go into the medical field.

She said the current nursing shortage motivates her to join the field even more because so many people need help and care.

“In a nurse, like, my heart is not, you know, ‘fix the problem,’” said Barber. “My heart is ‘care for this person.’ I just feel like people need that, especially today. Like they just want, when you go into the hospital and go to wherever you’re going, you want to see that smiling face and you want to know that you’re cared for.”

In response to the stress and burnout nurses can experience, Barber said she hopes her future self remembers the current passion she has for nursing and hopes to keep that drive forever.