'This virus is real': Raleigh nurse says the best thing you can do for National Nurses Week is be socially responsible

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- National Nurses Week always starts on May 6 and ends on May 12, the birthday of the most famous nurse in history, Florence Nightingale.

After 15 years in the nursing business, Raleigh nurse Allison Adams told ABC 11 this year's Nurses Week is like no other she's seen.

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"It is a different nurses appreciation week. It is different," said Adams who is featured this weekend in the documentary 'In This Together: A PBS American Portrait'.

She shot video of her day-to-day life for the piece. It includes some of her workdays on a large ambulance that transports critically ill patients long distances.

Inside the ambulance, she can be heard saying, "My husband and I are both in healthcare."

Adams' husband is a paramedic, both of them are constantly coming into contact with patients who could have COVID-19.

When the pandemic reached North Carolina they made a tough decision about their six-year-old son.

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"We sent my son to go live with my parents."

That was more than six weeks ago and they don't know when he will be able to come home.

"It is freakishly quiet. And I never thought that I'd be upset that my house is quiet," she said from her living room.

But despite personal and professional sacrifices, Adams says she doesn't always feel the love.

"It's fifty-fifty," she said. "There are people who absolutely appreciate what I'm doing and then there are people who think what we're doing is not real."

In one scene from the PBS documentary, Adams is walking her dog through her Raleigh neighborhood when she comes across chalk writing on a driveway.

"'COVID-19 is a myth,'" she reads out loud. " Hmmm. Apparently someone thinks COVID-19 is a myth. Right next door so, I mean, wow..."

Adams says it also hurts when she reads on social media that some people think the pandemic is overblown.

"Okay, like, I'm sorry but this virus is real. This virus exists. This virus doesn't discriminate."

But in spite of all that she says she wouldn't trade her job for any other - not even now.

"I absolutely love what I do," she said adding that the best way for people to honor nurses isn't with a thank you but by being socially responsible as things begin to reopen.

"Let's make sure we're taking care of public health. Let's take care of each other. Let's wash our hands. Let's wear our masks."

All, she said, signs of respect.
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