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Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

National Nurses Week: Mercy Rogers nurse shares experience during coronavirus pandemic

It's National Nurses Week, a time set aside to recognize and honor the medical professionals working hard to save lives.

ROGERS, Ark — It's National Nurses Week, a time to recognize and honor the medical professionals working hard to save lives. And now, nurses face a new challenge - the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

5NEWS spoke with an ER nurse working on the front lines at Mercy Hospital in Rogers. 

When Darcy Price graduated from the University of Arkansas last year and got her first nursing job, she had no idea she would soon have to face one of the most significant tests of her new career - a worldwide pandemic. 

Credit: KFSM
Darcy Price

"They always say the first year of nursing is going to be the hardest for you, but nobody ever prepared me for anything like this," Price said. 

When COVID-19 first arrived in Arkansas, Price told 5NEWS there was fear of the unknown inside the hospital. 

"Over the course of the last couple of weeks as we see more of it and get better with what we're doing. Everybody is learning more about it as we go. It's become calm and neutral."

When Price arrives at work, she's assigned to a zone, and sometimes that includes working with COVID-19 positive patients. 

"We have set up a situation where we are separating COVID potential, or COVID positive patients from the rest of our population, and the nurse that's back there has all the PPE that they could need."

Price said they do have to reuse masks, but the hardest part is seeing the looks of sadness on those isolated from their loved ones. 

"They're afraid and wanting to see their family." 

It's her job as a nurse to help them feel less alone. 

"I love that no day is the same, and every single time I walk out of the door of the hospital to go home, I know that I did something great that I really enjoy, and that made a difference for somebody."

Although things are hard now, Price says there's always hope. 

"We're in this together, and if we're flexible and continue to show each other love things will be good."

Price told 5NEWS she's overwhelmed by the outpour of support from the Northwest Arkansas community. 

People have been sending nurses masks and food almost every day. Price wants to thank everyone for their kindness. 

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