Justin Fontenot said he does not think twice when he wakes up in the morning and puts on his scrubs.
As a Registered Nurse who works in the home sector, Fontenot said he plays a vital role in helping someone leave the hospital and continue recovering in the comforts of their home.
"As someone described it to me the other day, it felt like a few years were taken from their life," Justin explained after taking care of patient with COVID-19. "A lot of their energy and function was removed in the process. Our care in the home is restorative."
Elsie Meaux, a registered nurse and president of the District 4 Nurses Association, said for over two decades they have been able to formally honor thousands of nurses for what they do everyday.
"It's the nurse that is having to hold your loved ones hand when they take their last breath," Meaux said. "Nursing has come to take the place of the family as people have been separated. Nursing has always been that compassionate profession and this just brings that out."
They year, though, things will be different.
While the organization cannot honor nurses with a banquet, they want to make sure these brave men and women get the recognition they deserve.
"This year we are gong to highlight, not just our 25 nurses, but all nurses," Meaux said. "We'd like to invite all nurses to attend with your families. It'll be a celebration of the diversity, of the resilience, and the compassion and caring of the nursing profession."
Fontenot said COVID-19 has been a game-changer in the field.
He added, it is also something that has pushed those strong nurses to the forefront.
"This pandemic will change the profession forever and for the better," Fontenot said. "Now, more than ever, we are realizing who the true soldiers are and how diverse we really are and how diverse we should seek to become as a profession"
Those health care soldiers will continue to march to the front line everyday to protect the community they love.
The 2020 Acadiana Celebrates Nursing Awards Banquet will take place on Friday, June 24th at the Doubletree by Hilton at 6pm.
Tickets are $40 each.
The public is invited to attend.
Find out more about the event at the LSNA District IV website.