DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — Perhaps no one endured a tougher time through the pandemic than our healthcare providers. And one woman is no exception to that.

At the start of the crisis, Tayler Obenland was dealt quite a hand: starting a new job and pregnant. However, those new challenges didn’t stop her from caring for others.

“It wasn’t until about I would say five to six years ago, we had a family friend who was battling cancer, she would just always talk about during her treatment and her stays in the hospital about how much her nurses, kinda the light in the dark times of her situation and they always made her happy,” Obenland said.

That’s when she decided she wanted to be a nurse.

She started on the fourth floor at OSF Sacred Heart in Danville as a bedside nurse. Around the same time, the first case of Covid was detected in the country and help was desperately needed in the emergency department.

“It was going to be a struggle building the team back up to where it needed to be. we had a job to do, we needed to serve the community,” Obenland said. “There were a lot of patients that required our services at that time.”

Oberland’s manager, TJ Pacot was also new to his role at the time. He said the department lost eight to twelve nurses and needed to get back on track. Obenland was the perfect fit.

“Hometown girl that just pushes that compassion and that desire to want to help other people out,” Pacot said.

An Oakwood native on a mission to help her community.

“To have somebody like that, that can come in and you could still see the smile underneath her mask while she’s taking care of these individuals that might die in a day or two was amazing, so we needed that person,” Pacot said.

Caring for others included a newborn of her own on the way.

“A lot of nerves, anxious,” Obenland said. “I was afraid that I was going to contract something to my child like there are so many what ifs.”

But her grit and determination kept her going.

“She’s just that individual that you want by your side, she’s that individual that if I was laying in that bed I would want her to come in and take care of me or my family,” Obenland said. “It was a lot to sit there with them in that time as they were, you know actively passing and knowing that they didn’t have anybody else up there with them besides you know the nursing staff, it took a toll on a lot of mental health.”

She said experiences like the one she endured with Covid brought her closer to her patients.

“Her interaction with patients is just a conversation instead of being a medical professional and a patient,” Pacot said. “She is in with them, she’s talking with them. I don’t even wanna look into the future to see this without her.

“Hearing other people tell you how much of a caring and compassionate person you are, just kind of makes you feel better,” Obenland said.

Obenland’s sister is also a nurse and remembers all the conversations they had. Her sister told her it was important to balance work and what was going on at home to give her a break.

One more thing: her son is now eight months old.