Nurses, The Unsung Heroes!
Nurses are responsible for creating a positive impact on the health and well-being of the patient, Belinda Sawant, Head- Nursing Services, Saifee Hospital
The heartbeat of any healthcare facility is its army of nurses, who provide the ‘care’ within the system. They are essential, integral and one of the strongest pillars of the organisation. While patients avail certain healthcare facilities owing to the doctor’s reputation and expertise, most undermine the importance of nurses, who provide the care that supplements the prescribed treatment. Patients will admit themselves in a facility solely for their treatment, but lack of patient management and prudence, will only exacerbate their discomfort and pain, which could demotivate them from re-admitting in that facility. Therefore, compassionate and dedicated care is equally important for the patient’s well-being and nurses are its key providers. They are responsible for creating a positive impact on the health and well-being of the patient. A majority of the nurses today continue to be women, though one can observe a slow and steady rise in the participation of males as well.
Their role in the medical sphere is undoubtedly of utmost importance, but as India is a medical haven for low-cost and innovative procedures and surgeries, the nursing profession is heavily underpaid with no scope for growth, and limited recognition. The skill set provided to the nurses is confined to a few areas though they are capable of undertaking more advanced procedures if given the appropriate training. They are also subjected to unfavourable environments with poor infrastructure, unjust compensation and unreasonable work schedules. This has led to a high attrition rate, and an acute shortage in the profession heavily undershooting the stipulated nurse to patient ratio. While the recommended number in India is 1:3 for medical colleges and 1:5 for district hospitals, in reality, India boasts of a meagre 1:20 or 1:30, nurse to patient ratio. Unfortunately, there exists a similar picture around the globe too. Every day around the world, nurses perform their duties diligently by saving lives, bringing health to the sick and ensuring dignity to the dying. They are often amongst the first to step forward during the occurrence of natural disasters and emergency situations, sometimes at the great cost of their personal safety. Very often, nurses are trained to be medically prepared to respond accurately and effectively to various kinds of disasters, and partake in safeguarding the health and well-being of the people at-risk.
Their job isn’t limited by time, space or barriers, and irrespective of the location, nurses are solely dedicated to the patient’s care and well-being, the moment they begin their shift with little or no regard for their social lives or family obligations. One of the primary banes of being a healthcare worker is that the physical or mental duress that the worker is suffering from is disregarded since only the patient’s duress is of primary importance, while working. Nurses must exercise caution and maturity while dealing with patients and satisfy their needs with compassion and endurance. Even the surrounding environment is secondary while administering care as nurses assist patients in hospitals and medical centres, as well as in rehabilitation centres during recovery.
In stressful situations, nurses supplement doctors, and play crucial roles in saving patient lives. Given their constant monitoring of patients, they are able to anticipate early warning signs, administer insulin shots, mollify trauma patients, and activate Code Blue when immediate resuscitation is required, as a part of their daily role. With their superior level of knowledge and expertise, and their dependable experience, they identify the correct diagnosis and proactively initiate protocols and treatment towards achieving better patient outcomes. This persistent, soothing and compassionate presence therefore builds a therapeutic relationship between them and the patients.
As nurses, they are constantly present and privy to the haphazard and taxing conditions of emergency rooms, ICUs and operating rooms. Regardless of the high-pressure life-and-death situations they encounter, nurses maintain a balanced composure and pacify anxious family members. As they interact more with the family members, they are also on the receiving end of criticism and complaints resulting from unmet or delayed medical care and support services. In spite of this backlash, they wholeheartedly dedicate themselves towards taking care of the patient by performing unpalatable and unpleasant tasks.
The education that nurses receive is undervalued, and their skills are considered petty when compared to other healthcare professionals. But in reality, nurses are highly educated professionals with unique skill sets, and are proficient in a wide array of essential clinical skills. These skills allow them to promote a safe culture around the patients throughout their stay. They are also enablers of an impending healthcare revolution since they use health IT to reduce medical errors, and enhance the performance of potentially life-saving clinical support technologies.
Nurses are the lifeblood of the healthcare system, yet they are its unsung heroes. They will continue to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and safety of patient care. They exhibit an attitude to naturally do whatever it takes to provide high quality care for the patients. Nursing has often been named as the most trusted profession, probably due to nurses amiable bedside manner, their devotion to patient care, or the behind-the-scenes work they undertake that shines through in the form of beneficial patient outcomes. Yet majority of the public is oblivious to the massive amount of thought, planning, innovation and science behind the profession of nursing and this makes them the unsung heroes of the healthcare sector.