Chattanooga nurses thanked by local artists

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Wednesday marks the first day of National Nurses Week. However, many of annual events honoring these workers have been postponed due to COVID-19.

That hasn’t stopped Chattanooga nurses from feeling appreciated thanks to a few dozen artists.

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“It’s incredible, to have people say thank you. I just can’t even tell you,” Parkridge Hospital’s Doreen Phillips, RN, said.

A collaboration of 32 artists created over 400 Thank You cards to deliver to those on the front lines.

“I’m so moving by the outpouring of love and support that the artist community is showing these front liners,” said Frances McDonald, founder of Mark Making nonprofit. “They’re getting their letters and it’s bringing them to tears. It brings us to tears to even make them.”



Each card is handmade, with a special note inside.

“I was really touched that it was individualized. Every card is different, and they really took time to try to appreciate us,” Parkridge’s Jamie Simmons, RN, said.

“Taking care of the patients, it just means so much. It just warms my heart for them to send it to us,” Parkridge’s Alex Whiteney, RN, said.

This year’s National Nurses Week looks different — no banquets, no award ceremonies, no large celebrations — at least not right now.

These cards help recognize the hard-working nurses — as the fight against COVID-19 continues.

“You just feel isolated,” Phillips said. “People are afraid. They stay away from you. To have people in the community say, ‘Hey, we care about you. We appreciate you.’ It means the world. It means so much.”

“This has been a difficult time for all of our caregivers,” Parkridge’s Chief Nursing Officer Deborah Deal said. “So for them to receive these Thank You notes, it just lets us know that the community is supporting us.”

“Since this whole COVID thing has come about, it’s been a Nurses Month, or two months,” Parkridge’s Savannah Wilkey, RN, said. “The community has just brought so much joy into the hospital in this hard time. They’ve just showed so much appreciation to all of us, and I feel like it’s, Nurses Week has just kept going on, and it’s really special.”

Artists with Mark Making are continuing to create cards and will send another load of cards to Parkridge, CHI Memorial and Erlanger hospitals.