SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — For the second year, St. Joseph’s Hospital is lighting up their bridge and trees around the hospital with lights.

Each light represents a healthcare worker who is fighting through the pandemic. Igor Sukhorukov and Leala Burns are both registered nurses and take care of COVID-19 patients. They’re feeling the staffing issues.

“We’ve lost a lot of staff and a lot of us are feeling burnt out,” Sukhorukov said. “A few weeks ago, I had a family member call and say that they were eager to have the family back home, but they didn’t realize how sick the patient was, so I think it’s heartbreaking for the nurses as they’re standing there with the patient knowing that they might not make it home when the family wants them to come home.”

They said patients aren’t allowed to have visitors, so they find themselves being their support system. Sukhorukov said he’s had to hold a patient’s hand while they’re dying because the family couldn’t be there.

They said they wish they could spend more time with their patients, but because they’re short-staffed they barely have time.

“You want to stay structured, but you keep getting bulldozed by other assignments. You try to do one thing and there’s a phone call waiting for you. You’re done with that phone call, someone needs a med, someone’s throwing up and you need to get that done,” Sukhorukov added.

Joanna Ferguson is the auxiliary president for St. Joseph’s Hospital she says these healthcare workers deserve all the appreciation they can get.

“They’re scared just like us, they have families to go home to so they’re not only experiencing sacrificing in their own personal lives,” Ferguson noted. “But they’re sacrificing their own health in order to get the patients through this tumultuous time.”

Lights were illuminated at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse on December 2, 2021.