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Nurses: The Unsung Heroes Battling COVID

Gruelling work hours, tirelessly tending to COVID patients, donning personal protective equipment (PPE) kits (which makes it difficult to drink, eat or take a washroom break), setting aside their families over the call of duty, and facing social prejudice in some cases, nurses have played a paramount role in waging a war against the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, on the occasion of International Nurses Day (12th May), which also marks the Florence Nightingale’s birthday – we highlight the trials and tribulations of the corona warriors and applaud their relentless efforts.

Stating that the pandemic failed to break their spirit, Captain Neelam Deshwal – Chief of Nursing, Fortis Hospital Mohali, said, “Our nursing staff has put up a brave front. With PPE kits on, they can’t have food or water for about 6-8 hours. They’ve managed the intensive care unit at the cost of their own health.”

Capt Deshwal, who hails from an Army background, said, “I’ve inculcated values of discipline and commitment in my staff. The day is not far when nurses will head a medical facility.”

Sharing how the pandemic took a toll on mental and physical health, Najma Khan, 26, Nursing Officer, said, “My family asked me to quit my job, but I was adamant. I do 6-hour shifts wearing a PPE kit. Battling this health emergency has been a traumatic experience, but every small recovery gives us a ray of hope.”

“We offer emotional support to patients, celebrate their birthdays and counsel families,” said Najma, adding that she met her family after a gap of 10 months in Rajasthan.

Talking on similar lines, Gurpreet Kaur, 35, nursing unit manager, said, “The pandemic has been a huge learning experience. Despite facing physical discomfort of wearing PPE kits, my prime concern has always been patient care.” Kaur said positivity and a strong resolve has helped them maintain calm in stressful situations.

“To see your patients recover and return home, that’s the biggest reward one can ask for,” she added.

Suman, Nursing Officer, at PGI Chandigarh CCU, Cardiology and COVID – has been working in the COVID-19 unit since a year, said, “From the beginning of this COVID pandemic, we nurses are continuously providing our health services to COVID patients. I am posted in COVID ICU. Working in the PPE kit itself is a difficult task because of suffocation.”

She added, “Nowadays during this 2nd COVID wave, the number of patients has increased tremendously in ICUs and they are critically ill. So, the workload had increased. Despite the huge workload, fatigue, infection threat we are treating our patients. In the darkest hour of this pandemic, we are hopeful for millions of people. In this challenging time, my husband and my family continuously supported me. They took care of my health at home so that I can take care of my patients at the hospital. So, we have to work collaboratively to win this fight against corona. Nurses as COVID warriors are risking their own lives to keep others safe.”

Mahendra Kumar, working in the emergency area handling stroke patients, at PGI said, “We as Nurses are working on frontline health care workers and giving our best since the day the pandemic arrived. We do not know which patient is COVID positive and who is not. We do have families and loved ones, but we keep our patients ahead of all. Our zeal to care for the needy comes from our soul. One day, the COVID will be eliminated but before that, we have a lot of lessons to learn.”

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