YORKTON -- Darla Rugland has been a licensed practical nurse for 17 years. She has witnessed many things in the hospital but nothing like COVID-19.

A year after the pandemic hit the province, Rugland shared her story on her social media.

“I needed an outlet. I was starting to lose the positivity that I like to have in my work environment and things like that,” said Rugland.

A former manager read her post and immediately reached out and asked to share her story with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. This resulted in Rugland being featured in the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s Faces of the Fight campaign, which highlights the work of frontline healthcare workers.

Despite taking all the precautions, she eventually contracted COVID-19 herself.

“It took weeks for me to start feeling better and I honestly still have some lasting effects from it,” she said.

Although she understands the frustrations of wearing a mask and the difficulties of not seeing family, she urged others to follow public health safety orders to protect others from being compromised.

“People are saying this isn’t real, we don’t need to wear masks, we don’t need to follow the rules and then you’re walking into a room where there are people literally fighting for their life,” said Rugland.

Rugland wants to remind people that health care workers are not just battling COVID-19 in hospitals.

“I know a lot people look and say [the hospitalization] numbers are miniscule, [but] comparatively speaking these are huge numbers. The thing is people are still sick with other things other than COVID-19,” said Rugland.

Rugland is grateful for the outpouring of support she has received and wants people to know that it is okay to be not be okay.