Hey you. Yeah, you. Reader. Hi. I'm Chelsea. You may not know me, but bear with me for just a moment. My parents are Chuck and Sharon. My brother's name is Connor. Many of you might know my dad from the fly shop, or my brother from Rugby. Some of you might even know me. For those of you that don't, I was born and raised in Pocatello, and I graduated from Highland (2004), ISU (2008), CWI (2014), and BSU (2015). Currently, I'm working towards my doctorate at Johns Hopkins University.

Do you know what I did last week? I opened up a whole new wing of an ICU in the Denver metro area, because the ICU was already full. Do you know what I did this week? I put two beds in each ICU room, because that extension ICU was also now full. You see, I'm an Emergency Department nurse who also works in the ICU. I have with with people of all walks of life. All beliefs. All educations. All socioeconomic classes. We aren't that different, you and me. We are both human, and we both love, struggle, make mistakes and grow.

I have been there when people have been born, and I have been there when so many people have died. I have been there during the best, and the worst times of peoples life, and I have done everything in my power to help people, regardless of political creed, sexual orientation, class, race, religion, and so on.

I get it. Right now is tough. Everyone is struggling. We don't want the world to shut down again. People's businesses are hurting. People are struggling with their mental health. I am also a forensic nurse, and I have seen some very tough situations with interpersonal violence, rape, and child abuse. Especially during this pandemic. I hear you. I feel you. I understand.

Here is the thing, though... everyone is struggling. And I get that the fear of losing personal freedoms by wearing a mask leads to some people being concerned for government overreach and other concerns. But let's actually step back for a moment. No politics. No fear of being controlled. Let's step back into kindness and love and support for one another. Be kind. Wear a mask. Cancel your bigger plans. We are all in this together.

Yes, I signed up to be a nurse. But even my job is vastly different. And I love it, but health care staff are struggling right now. Wearing a mask continuously for 12+ hours is not normal for me. Wearing repurposed airbag material as a gown is definitely not normal for me. Working for 7 and 8 days in a row is not normal for me. But I do it, and I'm doing it for you.

Sure, not everyone is sick, and not everyone is in the hospital with COVID. But, what I will tell you, those who are sick with COVID are some of the sickest patients we have ever seen. Fighting with something I can't even see, and feeling helpless as people are struggling to breathe but they are on the highest settings, is heartwrenching. Holding someone's hand, as we take them off of life support, and I am the only person in the room because their family can't come.

You probably have already made up your mind, and I'm probably not going to do much to change it. But please pause and think about what I've said for a few moments. Because, even if we disagree, I would do everything in my power to advocate for you and save your life should it come to it. So help me protect my parents, who still live in Poky. Help me protect other people. Help me help the health care staff.

Be kind. Wash your hands. Wear your mask. If you can manage to help reduce the spread of the virus, we can all make a difference and save lives. If we all vow to work together and try our hardest as a community, we might even be able to help save businesses and jobs. But this truly depends on everyone stepping up and recognizing that maybe we can make a difference. Will you wearing a mask stop the spread of COVID? Maybe not. But, it might. And it should at least reduce the spread. That has to count for something.

Please. For me. For you. For my parents, and yours. For the community. And for your health care workers. We are struggling. Help us fight for you.

Chelsea M. Collins,

BSN, RN, CEN, SANE-A

DNP, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Adult-Gerontological Critical Care candidate, May 2021,

Aurora, CO