CHICAGO (CBS) — They’ve been dubbed our healthcare heroes. Today begins National Nurses Week, and CBS 2 wanted to show our appreciation for the amazing men and women on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.

Morning Insider Lauren Victory introduces us to three of the nurses battling the novel coronavirus.

The stress of COVID -19 comes in a double dose when you’re a nurse.

“We don’t even have time to think how it’s affecting us,” said Betty Mestousis, an advanced practice registered nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

At work and at home, nurses have to hold it together.

“Things that I rely on normally as coping mechanisms just aren’t there,” Northwestern nurse Blair Bobier said.

Many of them are quarantining from their families, like Mestousis, a mother of three.

“I’m feeling very lonely at times,” she said.

She’d normally be doing anesthesia in the operating room, but because she and others in her unit have ventilator experience, they were drafted to the coronavirus team at Northwestern.

“It’s a pretty significant learning curve and adjustment,” she said.

It’s also exhausting.

“There are days where I just feel like I don’t have anything left in the tank emotionally,” Bobier said.

Bobier volunteered to shift floors from oncology to COVID after the pandemic started.

“I do feel safe, but it’s hard. There’s a lot I can’t control,” Bobier said.

Then there are nurses like Valerie Davis, who are fighting the virus virtually.

“We are proactively calling our patients,” said Davis, a community health nurse at Rush University Medical Center.

Davis said she is working remotely for Rush University College of Nursing right now, constantly checking in on senior citizens, “mainly keeping them uninfected.”

“Our job – which it always is, but especially during this time – is to really keep people as healthy as possible,” Davis said.

They’re healthcare heroes and this is their week.

“It’s nice to have this as just an extra bump right now,” Bobier said.

Who knew showing a little appreciation could heal the healer?

National Nurses Week runs annually from May 6 through May 12. This year, hospitals like Northwestern had to postpone celebrations, but we’re told they’ll make up for it when COVID clears.

Lauren Victory