From doctors to nurses to support staff, thousands of healthcare professionals have fallen to the deadly Covid 19 virus, which continues to wreak havoc. The pandemic has not just rattled lives of millions but also put Indian healthcare machinery under tremendous pressure.
In such a scenario, the nurses who form the largest single component of hospital staff, are suffering burn-out or psychological distress, and many have faced abuse or discrimination outside of work at the time of Coviod 19. As the International Nurses Day is celebrated on Wednesday, May 12, the hospitals have the utmost responsibility to take care of their nurses so that they in turn, provide quality care for their patients.
Reduce Nurse to Patient Ratio
Nurses find it difficult to cope when they are responsible for lots of patients. Caring for too many patients can place extra stress on a nurse, and it could even cause the quality of patient care to decline. High Patient-Nurse ratio often causes emotional and physical exhaustion. Reducing the nurse to patient ratio will improve the quality of care given to a patient.
Nurses are expected to put in long duty hours of work. This aspect of their job can affect their personal lives. That is why hospitals should be flexible and accommodating to nurses. By offering flexible scheduling & assistance, hospitals can keep them happy.
Recognition is often considered to be a short-term boost, but it certainly seems to go a long way in making a bad day into a good one. Most of them would love to know that they have done a good job & have made a difference to their patients & their families.
Nurses are regularly exposed to grief and sorrow throughout the course of their work. They face an emotional burden that cannot be ignored. They tend to become detached and disengage. It would help if the hospital provides counselling for their nurses, to help them cope with patient grief and find ways of nurturing themselves. The job of a nurse is tough and demanding.
Throughout history, nurses have played crucial frontline roles in the fight against epidemics and pandemics. They play a critical role in fight against Covid-19, pulling long shifts and putting themselves at risk of infections to care for patients. The fact is that the world will not win the battle against Covid-19 without nurses.
Nursing is a profession with the essential ingredients of autonomy and accountability. Often, the services rendered by nurses fail to receive proper recognition by society. Nurses, like doctors, also play an integral part in providing care to the patients and are indispensable in safeguarding public health. Therefore, it is important to understand and appreciate the vital contributions made by the nurses towards the healthcare industry for generations.
In a healthcare setting, these health care persons administer and evaluate patients’ treatment. They are involved in understanding the symptoms, assessing the treatment and communicating the same to the doctor. Further, they spend most of their time facilitating a patient’s optimal wellness and helping them meet their medical needs.
Kerala has the maximum number of registered nurses in India, and they can be found all over the world. According to the Indian Nursing Council, of the 20 lakh registered nurses in India, 18 lakh are from Kerala.
According to a recent WHO report nurses trained in India form a significant portion of internationally educated ones working overseas, second to nurses trained in the Philippines. Over 30 percent of nurses from Kerala now work in the UK or the US, with 15 percent in Australia and 12 percent in the Middle East. A significant number work in other parts of India, with Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai being among their favoured cities.
(Dr Naresh Purohit is a Medical Expert and Advisor National Communicable Disease Control Programme. He is also Advisor to six other National Health Programmes and visiting Professor in five Medical Universities of Southern India including Thrissur based Kerala University of Health Sciences. (The views and opinion expressed in this article are those of the author)