International Nurses Day 2020: Delhi-NCR nurses go beyond call of duty to serve patients
“Log kaafi bura bhala kehte hain, par main koshish karti hoon ki bura na manoon (People say a lot of inappropriate things to me, but I try not to let those affect me),” says Noorie Masih, a nurse at a private hospital in Gurugram. While the country practices social distancing, nurses are bound, by the need of their profession, to put their duty ahead of their safety and work amid the present coronavirus pandemic. They might or might not have PPE kits or masks, but nothing has been able to deter their determination to serve.
On International Nurses Day, May 12, we speak to some of the nurses, in Delhi-NCR, who have been involved in the fight against Covid-19, and what’s the cost of sacrifices they are making.
“I stay alone in a PG accommodation, not far away from the hospital where I work,’’ adds Masih, who got married recently and her husband is in Dehradun, her hometown, miles away from her. What worries her, however, are the cases of assault on medical professionals, and she has herself been on the receiving end of remarks, from patients who she tries to tend to. “‘Stay away from us’, ‘Stand a little far’, ‘Don’t come to our shop’ are some of the things that I have heard multiple times over the last few weeks,” she says with a heavy heart. What keeps her morale up are her telephonic conversations with her husband, at the end of a long day at work. “He worries about my health and safety, but I have a job to do here, and I can’t leave,” says the determined nurse.
“This is a war zone; there are multiple issues for nurses and other healthcare professionals, but that won’t stop us from serving our nation,’’ says Vipin Krishnan, a nurse at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi. Krishnan, along with some fellow nurses, has been feeding the poor and the migrants in Delhi’s temporary shelters since the lockdown began. He informs, “We are providing them with dry rations, masks, sanitary napkins. Initially, in the 10 days of the lockdown being announced, we had sent over 5,000 packets of food to those in need.”
Krishnan has previously held the post of general secretary of the AIIMS Nurses Union, and adds that “Many nurses working for some private hospitals are being sent home instead of a different accommodation, for quarantine. Many are being asked to foot their own bills in case they show symptoms of Covid-19. Discrimination on ground is rampant, but we are endeavouring to still do our duty in the best possible way.”
Quite a few frontline workers are going beyond their line of duty to help those in need, during such times. A Delhi-based home nurse shares on condition of anonymity that she has been staying in Noida with an elderly patient, who is recuperating from paralysis. She shares that the patient’s family asked her to stay put since they didn’t want to risk having an outsider come home everyday, and adds, “It was a tough call since I have to stay away from my family and kids. But, I need the extra money since my husband won’t be paid in full in this period. I know many others who have continued to see patients. We chose this profession because it is honourable and helps us serve those in need; so the question of cribbing does not arise. But, there is one thing I have continued to do as a human being, ever since the lockdown began, I have been feeding stray dogs in the locality. They need me just as much as my patient does (smiles).’’
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