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Heart-rending photo of distressed nurse goes viral: 'She's gonna kill me for this pic'

A photo of a Texas nurse who had just finished a grueling workweek has gone viral for bringing attention to the workload nurses carry on a regular basis.

Last Thursday, Laura McIntyre posted an image of her sister, Caty Nixon, on Facebook. Taken in July, the photo shows Nixon, a labor and delivery nurse at Medical City of McKinney in McKinney, wiping her tears as she sits on a couch with a plate of food on her lap.

"Caty just wrapped up her fourth shift in a row. that's around 53+ hours in four days," McIntyre wrote. "That's not including the 1.5 hours she's in the car each day. she usually doesn't get a chance to eat lunch or even drink much water. (& she has to dress like a blueberry.. i mean, come on). she is so good at what she does that she often forgets how to take care of herself while she's taking care of her patients."

Nixon had reportedly just delivered a stillborn before visiting her sister, McIntyre said.

"Have you guys ever really thought about what a labor & delivery nurse sees?" McIntyre asked. "They see great joy in smooth deliveries & healthy moms & babies. they see panic & anxiety when a new mom is scared. they see fear when a stat c-section is called. they see peace when the mom has support from her family - bc not all new moms do."

At times, those moments can be challenging, McIntyre said.

"They see teenagers giving birth. they see an addicted mom give birth to a baby who is withdrawing," she added."They see cps come. they see funeral homes come. did you know that they have to make arrangements for the funeral home to come pick up the baby? i didn't either."

McIntyre concluded her post by thanking her sister.

"Caty (& all other nurses) - you are SPECIAL," she wrote. "You bless your patients & their families more than you will ever know. thank you for all that you do."

Since McIntyre posted the photo, it has been shared over 117,000 times and received about 20,000 comments.

"To the nurses of the world, you are the most wonderful individuals supporting each mother!" one person wrote. "I know our nurse became family during our time in the [neonatal intensive care unit] and we miss them dearly!"

"Thank you Caty and all the hardworking nurses out there!" another wrote. "What an incredibly difficult and amazing job you do! You are so appreciated!!"

In an interview with TODAY, McIntyre said she has been overwhelmed with the response the photo has gotten.

"Labor and delivery nurses are physically, mentally and emotionally there for their patients every single day," she said. "The amount of love coming from this post is outrageous."