SAN JOSE, Calif. - The walk Tuesday, to and from work was different and slightly awkward, but still, welcomed and appreciated.
At three San Jose hospitals, a handful of community members and elected leaders turned up the noise and the love for frontline healthcare workers.
"I came out to let them know I care. We love them we care about them," said Assemblymember Ash Kalra, D-27th Dist., which encompasses parts of San Jose.
Frontline nurses and others at O’Connor Hospital, Valley Medical Center, and Regional Medical Center got a heroes' celebration during the day. Volunteers from three area non-profits held signs and cheered as nurses moved back and forth during shift change.
Many South Bay leaders credit nurses for staying on the job since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"A lot of nurses said they have seen more death in these last two years, then they have in the entirety of their careers," said registered nurse Claudia Rossi.
She said the stress, sadness, and anxiety all of us feel is worse for healthcare workers, because they have nowhere to escape.
"They don’t recover from seeing how many of their patients didn’t survive," said Rossi. Added Kalra, "The least we could do is to let them know we care about them, we’re thinking about them – still."
The expression of support caught most nurses off-guard. Some tried to avoid the gauntlet, fearing it was negative in nature.
"Some parts of the country health care workers are getting jeered. And not getting reinforced at all. And certainly it will be a kind boost. And we could all use a kind boosts now and then," said Santa Clara University psychologist Dr. Thomas Plante.
Some workers had fun with the idea, and lapped up the praise..
"It makes us feel good. Feel appreciated. We really appreciate it," Valley Medical Center registered nurse Wendy Vandine, as she left work for the day.
Organizers said more nurse celebrations in the South Bay area planned in the coming week.