I have always held the view that nursing is a profession that is held by women and men who are compassionate to a fault with their patients. I have had it up here in my head that they perform one of the most praise worthy duties in life i.e. take care of us when we are at our most vulnerable state.
However, recently when I had to be at the hospital for a couple of days I have realized that the word compassion has to take on a new meaning if it is to be applied to the nurses working at our hospitals. I have always noticed that Indian nurses who work in the Maldives tend to be bitches, well most of them anyway and I have always had the opinion that this must be because we aren’t really of their blood and culture so who are we to receive their compassion and care eh? But then to my ultimate horror I have come to know that most Maldivian nurses aren’t that better off. I was with a patient admitted to the surgical ward, and I guess anyone would realize just how much care patients at such a ward would require without me laying it out for them. I found that people who didn’t have attendants either family or friends to be with them had a really hard time at the ward. With the nurse station just within hearing distance from the beds, nurses tended to ignore those who didn’t have the guts to go up to them and give them a piece of their mind. And to hear the pain that the patients are in just broke my heart bit by bit. No nurse saw it fit to come to the patient and show him a bit of care and compassion that eases our minds when we are sick.
It made me sick to the bone to identify this trait and wondered what had happened to the current generation of nurses that have come out. Are they being bred from a factory where they are automatically wired to just do the bare minimum to earn their paychecks at the end of each month and just leave everything else be? I have heard my mother talk about nurses who cared for her when she underwent labor to bear each of us, and she always talked about gentle touches on the forehead, quiet words of encouragement etc. which I guess was one of the reasons why my head has been up in the clouds for quite a number of years. To the contrary, one of my colleagues who gave birth around a month back had a different story to report. Nurses were callous to the point of being rude and a time where a woman needs encouragement from her fellow beings, she found it to be something straight out of a badly plotted horror movie which tends to leave your mouth with a bad taste once you have seen it.
Right after the IGMH surgical ward experience, I flew to Bangalore and there I experienced first hand how nurses should really be. They were considerate, kind and caring while effectively giving the care necessary for the patient’s survival even when at times the patient may not really be of the most gracious behavior.
I believe that compassion and care should go hand in hand and urge people of the nursing profession in our country to give compassion a whirl sometime. They might just gain a bit of satisfaction of a job well done and received to go along with the paycheck at the end of the month.