Hair neatly tied, kohl-lined eyes and some lip gloss to complete the look... If you thought Anu Rojo with a million dollar smile on her face was an aspiring model or beauty queen, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. She is a senior clinical ­instructor at Fortis Memorial Research Institute. “I started my career as a staff nurse in the neuro ICU with ­little ­enthusiasm for my job because I could not clear the pre-medical entrance exam. However, I am happy that I chose this noble profession and dedicated my life to the ­service of infirm and ailing people,” says Rojo.
“A nurse’s professional life is a race against time, irrespective of the position she holds. As a staff nurse, I used to start my day by checking the inventory of the unit. After this I had to physically assess patients and administer medication. While doing so I had to be very attentive and look for vital signs. After this the mandatory ward rounds happened. At present, as a clinical ­instructor, I supervise the entire care regime of a patient and groom new nurses. Making ­teaching modules for various medical specialities, monitoring quality indicators of nursing care and doing root cause analysis of care lapses are also part of my role,” says Rojo.
The art of communication, Rojo stresses, is something that is of utmost importance. “Soft skills are essential in the healthcare sector in India. And it goes beyond greet, smile and thank you. Many senior nurses lack ­communication and public ­speaking skills. Acquiring these can improve the status of nurses in the country,” she says.
Referred to as the backbone of healthcare services, nurses are no longer accorded second class treatment. “It is impossible to imagine ­healthcare delivery ­without a nurse. People say that nurses are not ­considered at par with ­doctors, but this not true. Both the professions complement each other with respect to patient care, ” says Rojo.
Nurses are in demand ­everywhere, from hospitals and clinics to various colleges. After doing a BSc in nursing, one can work in the clinical side or as a teacher at the various schools and colleges of nursing.
A nurse holding an MSc degree can take up administrative posts such as that of a principal in a nursing college or work as a registrar in either the state councils or the Indian Nursing Council. An MPhil or PhD qualification would enable a nurse to work as a researcher or research coordinator.
“A degree in nursing does guarantee a job, considering that the nurse-patient ratio in our country is still very poor, but one needs to acquire hands-on skills which can be acquired by working in a good hospital for atleast three to five years. This is how one can become an efficient nurse and progress in life. Also, a huge gap exists between theory and practice when it comes to the curriculum of nursing colleges. A lot needs to improve. Due to this, nurses have to go through rigorous on-the-job training and put in more effort to unlearn traditional practices, says Rojo.
Paltry remuneration is one ­challenge the profession is facing today. “It is the lure of money that takes nurses to ­foreign ­countries. Salaries need to increase two to three fold for a nurse to lead a decent lifestyle,” says Rojo.
An ideal nurse must have the ability to work in diverse ­situations and should be able to think critically
Rs. I take home
Rs. 40,000 per month as part of my government job
I love my job because...
It gives me immense ­satisfaction when I get to serve people and bring a smile on their faces
Healthcare sector today faces severe manpower crises. Therefore, ­nursing as a profession has immense scope and job ­opportunities
All you need to know about a career as a nurse
Nurses manage the ­day-to-day care of patients, by administering them prescribed medicines and teaching them to take care of themselves. Nurses also have to maintain a strict vigil on patients and keep track of any changes in their physical condition, mental attitude, reaction to drugs or other problems.
After Class 10, one can do ANM (auxiliary nursing and midwifery). It is a two-year diploma programme. One may also do the three-and-a-half year diploma in general nursing and midwifery (GNM) after Class 12. A physical sciences and biology combination is required at the Plus Two level to do the four-year BSc nursing programme. This can be followed up with an MSc, MPhil and PhD
Skills and traits
# An inherent desire to take care of the ill and the infirm
# Selfless dedication
# Emotional strength
# Ability to work for long hours
# Logical and analogical reasoning powers
# Ability to empathise rather than sympathise with the patient