Published on April 14, 2020

Silver Cross ER Nurse Makes Masks to Keep Coworkers and Community Safe

Silver Cross Emergency Department nurse Julie O’Rourke puts her clinical expertise to use while she’s at the hospital. When she goes home, the 13-year hospital veteran fires up her sewing machine and makes homemade masks to help in the fight against COVID-19.

Julie O'Rourke“It’s a scary time right now,” Julie explains. “We screen everybody, but the symptoms of this virus can be vague.” This uncertainty led Julie to find new ways to put her sewing skills to good use.

Since she had leftover fabric from quilt-making, she started sewing masks and bonnets. Each takes about 15 minutes to create. Recently, her daughter joined in, and co-workers have begun helping to cut the fabric ahead of time so Julie can focus on getting the pieces together and sewing them to complete the item.  

“Social distancing is the key to keeping this virus under control,” she adds. When the pandemic is over, Julie plans to continue making masks and donate them to the UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross for patients to wear.

“My mom lost her battle to cancer over 7 years ago and I know what we went through.  If I can put a smile on a face by giving someone in need one of my caps then I know I did a good job.” To the families who are uncertain about what is happening right now, Julie recommends using this time to reconnect with your family at home.  “We will get through this by staying safe together!”

Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care. These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.