WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. — In places all over the country, the health care system is under strain. Nurses are doing their jobs in full protective gear, when it's available.

"We're spending up to two hours at a time in these rooms with all of the equipment on, which is very difficult," said Jennifer Stewart, an experienced nurse.

Nurses are on the front lines of the pandemic, which might give pause to students who are studying to become nurses.

"Sort of the opposite has happened," explained Jody Spiess.

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Spiess is a Webster University nursing instructor, and she said the crisis might actually help recruit more people into nursing. In fact, she's been getting more phone calls than usual.

"I'm in the midst of this crisis as a public health nurse, and it surprised me when I got calls asking about enrolling in our program. I'm thinking, 'Oh my gosh, I can barely think about that right now, but how exciting that people are still calling," Spiess said smiling.

Webster's nursing masters program, which started this week, is completely filled up. Spiess believes that similar to what happened around 9/11 when people felt called to be first responders, COVID-19 might call people into healthcare.

"I think a lot of the work that is done by nurses and first responders we sort of forget about because it's part of our daily lives and we're busy. But at times like these we see people rise to the occasion," Spiess told us.

Many are calling all those on the front lines, heroes.  And perhaps we will soon have more heroes among us.

"Today's students are not afraid," she said.

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