TEMPLE, Texas (FOX 44) — Today kicks off Nurses Appreciation week and FOX 44 spoke with nurses Mary Tien and Penelope McCabe who both work at Baylor Scott and White in Temple, and both are military spouses.

When the pandemic began, they worked in different medical areas, Tien at a health district and McCabe as a flight nurse.

“We transport the sickest of the sick that can be transported, and we knew that that eventually was going to start, including COVID patients,” McCabe said. “But then you’re in a metal box. A thousand feet up in the air with minimal airflow, potentially, you know? And so we there was a lot of concern.”

Tien and McCabe came to Baylor Scott and White during the height of the pandemic, without their husbands or family members.

McCabe’s husband was deployed during her flight nurse time and is still currently in North Carolina while Tien’s husband had to stay at Fort Benning when she moved to Central Texas due to his orders.

“It was actually overwhelming at first when I came back and initially came back as a charge nurse for one of our family medicine clinics,” Tien said. “And our clinic was designated also as a COVID testing site. So it was managing that on top of the normal charge nurse duties.”

Both say that Facetime and today’s technology is the largest help in communicating with their spouses, and that is key since both partners have stressful jobs.

When asked if there’s a fear about another surge of cases, McCabe and Tien said yes but there is also a level of confidence.

“I think there is a fear that it could definitely surge again. But it’s also the confidence is there because protocols are in place,” Tien explained.

“The protocols that she’s speaking of, you know, they’re at this point now tested and tried and true,” McCabe added. “You know, they’ve been put through a lot. They were developed maybe on the fly, but it’s been to, like you said, two years going on. We’re figuring we are figuring things out.”

They both finished by wishing other healthcare workers a happy nurses week and thanking those who have shown appreciation for their work over the years.