Dallas nurses share their perspective as they care for COVID-19 patients on Christmas

Working Christmas Day is not out of the ordinary for healthcare workers, but this holiday, nurses are with patients during a pandemic and during the deadliest weeks in Dallas County. 

Perspective was given from those on the front lines on Christmas Day during a pandemic.

"We are called to help, we are called to go above and beyond for complete strangers, and it’s hard," ER nurse Rose Mannas said.

"Normally, I would not be here tonight, but COVID has changed my plans, like I’m sure it’s changed a lot of peoples’ plans. We are short staffed and trying to make the best of it," ER nurse Lori Palumbo said.

The nurses are all working the Christmas holiday, away from their families, to care for the loved ones of others. 

"We have seen a lot of positive cases the last few weeks," nurse Charlotte Butler said. "It’s not easy to tell a parent that their child has tested positive for COVID and that they can’t see their loved ones during the holidays."

"Pandemic, at times, has been challenging, and at other times, it has brought our team closer together and we are definitely there for the patients because no one else can be there with them," Palumbo added.

"You need to get up and get dressed and put your badge on and tell these patients that it’s going to be okay, because no one else will tell them today," Mannas said. "And even if they don't make it, you have to make them feel like they will so they can have a chance."

On Christmas, there were 3,346 COVID-19 patients in North Texas hospitals, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. 

The most patients in our region since March. 

Christmas week has been one of the deadliest in Dallas County since the pandemic started. 

From Sunday to Wednesday, the county reported 113 deaths. 

"The last few weeks have been challenging to say the least. Sometimes it feels like you go to work and you watch people die, and go home, try to eat something, sleep for a couple hours and come back and start over," Mannas said.

The nurses said they’re hopeful that the end will come soon, and that their co-workers have become second families. Adding, that in some ways, they may be changing the world.

But it’s still tough for them.

They had special messages this Christmas.

"I hope I don’t see anyone [Christmas] night, I hope you have a great night and merry Christmas," Palumbo said.

"Merry Christmas, stay safe, wear that mask and please sign up to get that vaccine as soon as its available," Mannas added.


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