New Mexico nurse still going strong making masks, PPE for other nurses on frontlines

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – When the pandemic arrived in New Mexico, masks were scarce, there was even a shortage of PPE for healthcare workers. That’s when a New Mexico nurse jumped into action masking masks for people on the frontline. What she thought would last a few weeks, is now a full-fledged operation.

“I was hoping just a couple months, maybe, until the actual supply chain could jump in but yeah here I am,” said nurse Jessica Nandino.

Nandino initially started off by making covers for N-95 masks, to make them last a little longer, but after a few months, she started making a mask of her own design fit for hospitals.

From there, she launched her own website and company called Nursemade. “I wanted to make sure the message wasn’t lost, that it was by a nurse for a nurse,” said Nandino.

Since the end of March, Nandino and her family have been busy designing and sewing. She sells masks and scrub caps but has also donated hundreds. “Between me, my mom, and my aunt it’s probably into the thousands, the ones that we have sewn and donated,” said Nandino.

Plus, Nandino has helped even more people provide for health care workers. On the Nursemade website, Nandino created a downloadable template so anyone could learn how to make these masks. Over three million people have downloaded it.

“It’s been nice to get emails from people and they’ll share how they tweaked the design to fit their husband’s beard or make it their own so that has been what’s above and beyond any expectation,” said Nandino.

Nandino also started making scrub caps. Each is inspired by a nurse she has worked with who has made a difference in her life and career. “Most of them in the state over the years and with each mask it has little vignette of my experience with that person, kind of why that fabric was inspired by that nurse,” said Nandino.

During the pandemic, Nandino had to make the difficult decision to temporarily step away from being a nurse. “My husband is a paramedic and firefighter and we have three kids and they all had school changes,” said Nandino.

So, the creation and growth of Nursemade has been all the more rewarding. “Ultimately, I would love if my masks become something that gets tucked in a drawer somewhere and gets pulled out and like oh, remember 2020? That was so crazy. If it became something to collect or just hold onto for a nostalgia, for memories and not something we had to wear or put on multiple times a day, that would be a win,” said Nandino.

Nandino knows as the pandemic inches toward a close that Nursemade won’t be needed, forever. She’s looking forward to being an ICU nurse again.

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