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Mother-daughter duo care for COVID-19 patients in ICU

For these two nurses, taking care of patients is a family affair.

AURORA, Colo. — In the ICU, it takes a team. To become a great nurse, you have to learn from those that came before.

Nurse Cheryl Carlson has been doing this for 37 years. 

Those with less experience lean on her, including her daughter, Annika.

"The highlight of my nursing career so far has been working with her," said Annika of her mother. 

Annika has worked in the ICU at the Medical Center of Aurora for just a year. 

"I feel like in some ways, I have gone from mother to mentor," Cheryl said. "But now I am going from mentor to just proud mama. Makes me very happy."  

Their mother-daughter bond helps them get through the day.

"She's more my sister than my mom at this point," Annika said. "We share everything. I mean, it's just been my favorite thing ever."

Having each other has made a difficult year easier.  

"I think the COVID has made us cry a little bit more behind the scenes. It's made us hug each other a little bit more, thinking we go this. We can do this," Cheryl said.

With COVID-19 surging again, they're seeing sicker and younger patients.

"I feel closer to all of my coworkers and definitely to her," she added. "Because there are times that we are side by side and the patients don't know that we are related because it is about the patients. It's not about us. the smiles and the winks and the grins that we give each other, it's like we get it."   

Together, Cheryl and Annika get through each day hoping the care they give gets their patients back home to their loved ones, too.

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