CHICAGO (CBS) — This National Nurses Week, CBS 2 is telling the stories of nurses going above and beyond in extraordinary circumstances.

CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas introduced us to one nurse who is saving the day – and doing it all with a smile.

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When she talked with McNicholas on her day off, Meghan Donahue was happy to take a break from the scrubs and personal protective equipment – and she had earned it.

Donahue has been working an extra shift every week at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

“Some days are really tough and some days are okay,” she said.

Donahue is a nurse in the emergency department at the hospital. On Tuesday morning, there were a total of 114 COVID-19 patients at the hospital.

“There definitely is an increased amount of critical patients coming through the door, but we’ve worked together to find the best ways to take care of them,” she said.

Donahue would typically get off work and hang out with her friends or family to relax. But now?

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“Unfortunately with the stay-at-home order, I have not seen my family or friends,” she said.

So Donahue relies on Zoom sessions and jogs through the neighborhood to clear her mind. The signs of support for nurses and doctors have all brought a smile to her face.

But for her, not much can top the sound of her neighbors cheering for medical workers from their apartments. It’s something she looks forward to on her ride home.

“It almost brings me to tears every day and I’m not a crier,” Donahue said. “It really is so incredible and I don’t know if people realize how much it helps us.”

Donahue said access to PPE is much improved, but she knows the challenges aren’t over. She worries that some nurses and resources might be diverted to other areas of the hospital as elective procedures are phased back in.

“There could be a decreased amount of beds for our patients, but again, just working together with the other departments, I think we should be okay,” she said.

If you couldn’t tell, Donahue is ready to face that challenge.

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We asked Donahue, what keeps her coming back every day? She said it is the endless support and camaraderie from her coworkers and community. She has also been touched by all the community donations, from food to PPE.

Tim McNicholas