Traveling nurses in Green Bay join featured on NBC's TODAY Show

Posted at 2:18 PM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 15:18:54-05

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) -- Laura Cutolo and Morgan Fitzsimmons are traveling nurses in Green Bay. Wednesday morning, they were in the national spotlight.

"I remember being slightly hesitant because I'm like 'that's kind of…OK,'" Fitzsimmons said about being asked to interview with the New York Times this month. "This is an opportunity that doesn't come across often. I feel like you can't say 'no'."

The Bellin Health workers appeared on the TODAY Show on NBC on Wednesday to talk about their experiences.

"What keeps me motivated is largely that I hope there's an end in sight with the vaccine," Cutolo said on the show.

This month, they also appeared in the New York Times and on CNN. Cutolo herself was featured on the BBC.

"Honestly [we're in the spotlight] by pure circumstance," Fitzsimmons said. "I look at the series of events and it started with our travel company reaching out to us saying 'hey, the New York Times is looking to do a piece. How do you feel about talking to a journalist and having a couple of pictures taken?"

The two friends, who met in Green Bay, wish all their fellow healthcare workers got the same personal recognition.

"I feel like all I did was go to work, and I'm lucky because I have a job and I do something I love," Cotolo said. "And I didn't do anything other than what I was going to do for the rest of my life anyway."

But Cutolo and Fitzsimmons feel lucky to represent the experiences of workers in Green Bay and around the country.

"Obviously I think everyone is giving recognition to all healthcare workers, which is amazing," Fitzsimmons said. "I just wish I could share that recognition with those whose path I have crossed and worked with."

The traveling nurses have bonded in their experiences, even eating Thanksgiving dinner together away from their families. But they've had other tough times in Green Bay.

"This [Green Bay] was the most hurting on our travel site," Fitzsimmons said about joining Bellin Health for nearly six weeks. "It seemed like it was the most hurting hospital at the time that we accepted."

As well as the country, they hope to make a mark on Northeast Wisconsin.

"One of my favorite sayings is 'leave people better than you found them,'" Cotolo said. "And I hope we were able to give the nurses here and the staff here a break so that they didn't have to do so many call-in shifts."

So would they say they're friends for life now?

"Oh yeah... absolutely," Fitzsimmons said.

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