Nurses at Naga Hospital Authority Kohima observe the International Day of Nurses on May 12.
Covid-19 pandemic a timely reminder of the vital role nurses play
Atono Tsükrü Kense
Kohima | May 12
“Being a nurse requires more than just the knowledge of medical conditions and treatment—it takes a caring personality, compassion, good communication skills and patience” says Senchumbeni Keyho, a staff nurse of Naga Hospital Authority Kohima.
Although it is a challenging job, it feels good and satisfying as a nurse to be able to care and extend some comfort and kindness to patients every day, says a young nurse Among Sanglir, who has been in this profession for 8 years in a private hospital in Dimapur.
As the world celebrates the International Day of the Nurse with the theme ‘Nursing the World to Health’ on May 12, the COVID-19 pandemic brings stark realization of the nurses’ vital role as they continue to render their services for the people.
Speaking to The Morung Express, nurses shared their experiences, fears and challenges as they go to work each day, not knowing what lies ahead during this pandemic.
Challenging dual role of ‘caring’
Keyho, a mother to four children and a staff nurse for two decades, shared her experience of being a mother and a nurse, both of which require ‘caring.’
“Being a mother and a nurse is a challenging job, as we perform the dual role of caring for our patients as well as our family, home and children. Most of the times, we attend and give more priority to our patients, leaving aside our own children and family,” she said.
Keyho, who starts her day with a few stolen moments of solitude to seek God's help to keep her safe, said that a nurse needs to be a good observer, pay attention to details, have problem solving skills, be self aware, be open to learning and have respect for everyone.
Roller coaster emotions
As nurses come across different types of people daily, their daily emotions ride on a roller coaster from kindness, anger to emotional connections with patients.
Sanglir shared the experiences face by the nurses of being touched by the kindness of a patient, to anger and irritation. However, she added that not all of the emotions a nurse feels in a day are negative, and eventually they learn how to manage them, redirect them and ultimately overcome them.
“We see patients at their worst receiving- scary diagnosis or even facing the end of life, and we are ready to comfort our patients in every way possible, and eventually we become emotionally connected with the patients we care for,” said Keyho.
Nurses also work under tremendous pressure and the margin for error in their profession is very thin. Though they are professionally well trained, nurses still fear of committing errors which could cost a life. “Being a nurse, medication errors are one of the greatest fears regardless of our experience, as it can put our patient at risk,” Keyho added
Sanglir maintained that her biggest fear is making a mistake that could cause pain or even cost the life of her patients.
The present COVID-19 pandemic has caused additional challenges for nurses with reports of under equipped infrastructure, shortages of PPEs, manpower etc. The nurses however have not been discouraged but have stood up to face the challenges. Keyho opined that this is a challenge that is inevitable to the profession. “I am ready to fight this Covid-19 pandemic, if the government provides us with full PPE,” she stated.
Keyho further informed that they are undergoing training on how to care for COVID-19 patients, and they are also educating people in their own ways.
“Our state is struggling with poor and ill-equipped heath infrastructures and shortage of health care workers; we have fear that if COVID-19 hits our state, the health care personnel will be left helpless,” commented Sanglir.
She also pointed at stigmatization of health workers as a big concern for the nursing community. Nonetheless, “despite all the concerns amid COVID-19, we still have to show up for work risking our health to help our community,” she added.
On her experience of being in a government designated quarantine centre for 14 days, Sanglir recalled “I was kept in a separate room alone. I was scared and anxious with all kinds of thoughts and fears running through my mind.”
Despite the fears, she said she tried to stay calm and keep herself occupied, while her faith and family kept her strong.