She entered the profession at 21 -she wanted to make a difference in the quality of life for others. All too often, however, much to the dismay of Mala and millions of her colleagues, nursing is portrayed as a second-class job -for people not good enough to make the academic grade and become doctors.
But what others don’t realise is that nursing requires as much intelligence, empathy , sense and sensitivity as most critical jobs. Mala is on her feet 24 hours a day -she calms down a trauma patient, gives an elderly diabetic his insulin shot, makes sure the young man on bed no. 3 has taken his fever medication and calms down a child with a tummy ache. She has juggled physical pressures, emotional situations, and at times, mentally taxing experiences to care for her patients.
She loves her job, it gives her a sense of fulfillment, but wishes she would get acknowledged for her dedication at the government hospital where she works.She is unhappy about the pittance that she is paid as salary despite her experience and the long, back-breaking hours. But what upsets her the most is that despite putting in several years of service, she is not allowed to do anything apart from doling out medicines and giving patients a sponge bath.
Though India boasts of being a medical destination -a haven for low-cost innovative surgeries and cure for all ailments -nurses here are hired at laughable pay scales, confined to minimum skill sets, straitjacketed in a profession with no room for growth and lack a conducive work environ ment and infrastructure facilities. So, it’s no surprise that the profession has a high attrition rate and acute shortage.
K Banumathi, member of the government nurses union in TN, pointed out that as per Indian Nursing Council norms, the nurse-patient ratio should be 1:3 for medical colleges and 1:5 for district hospitals.
However, in India, there is only one nurse for 20 to 30 pa tients. “The situation in Tamil Nadu is worse as there is one nurse for every 54 patients. The nursing institutes lack proper infrastructure and facilities and these hinder them from achieving excellence.
The need of the hour is to revamp the nursing syllabus and ensure that it includes s k i l l e n h a n c e m e n t p ro grammes. “ Abroad, nurses can pursue courses in several fields of medicine and develop their skill sets. With a bit of training, Indian nurses can also administer anaesthesia and also double up as interventionists. Unless the health ministry takes steps to change the syllabus, not many would be willing to opt for nursing as a career choice.
Source: Times of India 27 Nov’2015