SALT LAKE CITY — As Mother's Day approaches, a mother and daughter who both work as nurses in Utah are reflecting on how they helped each other through the tough times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The most rewarding thing about being a nurse is helping people," said Marilyn Mariana, the chief nursing officer at Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful.
Her daughter Mikayla Allred is a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at St. Mark's Hospital in Millcreek.
"Knowing that you can be there for them going through these hard times, it's the most rewarding thing," Allred told FOX 13 News.
The pair talked about what led them into the often-challenging field, both inspired by nurses when they were young. For Allred, that role model was her mom.
"My mom is a very caring person, and I remember as a kid for career day, my mom would come to school and always teach us about washing our hands and all the things that we can do," she said. "I was like, 'Dang, that's cool. I want to do like what my mom does!'"
She said her mom has been at her side through it all, walking alongside her at her nursing school graduation and on the other end of a phone every day after Allred's shift.
"I called my mom every day after work, and she was the only person — between her and my husband — that kept me grounded," Allred said. "It was her reminding me that we became nurses to help people and to be there for them when other people couldn't, so she helped keep me going when I was struggling."
She referred to the tough times of the pandemic, when sadly, despite her every effort, patients would pass away. She said knowing that she was the last person they would see "was so hard."
"The pandemic was a different time for all of us, and the hardest part was just continuing to see lots of surges, but everyone cared deeply," Mariana added.
She said knowing how much this affected her daughter helped her to better understand and serve nurses in her hospital, and Allred said her mom's experience and perspective helped get her through it.
Mariana said she came into the nursing field during the AIDS epidemic and was there as people passed away from the disease.
"You always have to remember you're making a difference," she said.
With plans to spend this Mother's Day holiday working together helping their grandparents, this mother and daughter shared a special message with one another Friday.
"I have to tell my daughter that I'm very proud of her," Mariana said. "She's a wonderful mother and she's done a great job with her own children, and she does a great job taking care of patients, and I'm just very proud of her."
"I just want to tell my mom thank you," Allred added. "She's my best friend and has honestly been the best mom. She has been there for me, my brother and my kids through a lot of hard times, and honestly I couldn't have asked for a better mom."
Happy Mother's Day!