"When the pandemic occurred, the whole atmosphere changed," said Lauren Brown.
"You didn't think it would happen here, and when it started, it was like a whirlwind," added Lacie.
The 21-year-old fraternal twins graduated from Oklahoma City Community College in December. They quickly got jobs, with the sisters now working together in the ICU at INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center in Oklahoma City, treating critically ill and Covid-19 patients.
To say that the twins are inseparable is an understatement.
"We never had to go into any situation alone," said Lauren.
They played the same sports in high school, studied at the same college and are now pursuing a master's degree in nursing at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
"We always had each other. I can't imagine it any different; it just seems lonely," Lacie joked in an interview with CNN.
The twins took an early interest in the medical field and decided to become nurses when they were about 12 years old after the family experienced a health crisis.
"My brother Hunter was diagnosed with leukemia at 16," explained Lacie.
The family spent a lot of time in the hospital, seeing firsthand how much a compassionate and empathetic nurse could do to help patients and their families heal.
"Just seeing the impact of nurses that really changed for me," said Lacie.
"The nurse is that person who is there for you, day after day, to see that person improve."
"It didn't just change his life, it changed our whole family," added Lauren.
Their brother, now in full remission, also works as a nurse.
For the Browns, helping patients – and their loved ones – is a family business.
"I think it's really important to find that connection, they need someone to hold their hand and guide them through it, like nurses did for our family," said Lacie.
Frontline nurses around the world are recognizing the physical and emotional impact this pandemic has had on them. Both Lauren and Lacie say this experience is stressful, but they credit themselves for the strength to continue.
"We don't need to explain this, we can just walk together," said Lacie.
"We are best friends built-in, and I can't imagine it any differently," Lauren agreed.