Nursing in Kashmir: A Noble but Undervalued Vocation

Nursing in Kashmir: A Noble but Undervalued Vocation
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Irfan Bashir Wani

Nursing as defined by its pioneer, the Florence Nightingale, over 100 years ago as “the act of utilizing the environment of the patient to assist him in his recovery (Nightingale, 1860). Nightingale considered a clean, well ventilated, and quiet environment essential for recovery. She raised the status of nursing through education. Nurses were no longer untrained housekeepers but people educated in the care of sick.
Virginia Henderson, one of the first modern nurses, defined nursing as” to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to peaceful death) that he/she would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength”.
Not many years have passed when nursing emerged as a valued profession which then gradually moved up to the level of nobility. Males are now joining this noble profession at a higher rate. Nowadays, the whole world reckons nursing as a noble and valued profession. Now, Nurses are not those who would follow the prescribed orders of medicos only but a full-fledged degree holder nurse has much more responsibilities. Even many people acknowledge the fact that doctor’s contribute relatively less efforts than nurses when it comes to complete recovery or rehabilitation of patients. A nurse, these days, is not only a care giver but an advocate of patient’s rights, a team leader, a collaborator, a manager and, last but not the least, nurses act as the promoters of wellness within society. The United States has witnessed the development of nurses as Nurse practitioners, clinical Nurse Specialists, Nurse Midwives and even Nurse Anaesthetists.
Taking in consideration the development of nursing at the international level, the research field of Nursing cannot be ignored. Now, nurses are highly acknowledged researchers and their research at Master’s and Doctorate level has certainly boosted their profession in its worth and has also helped in the embedding of evidence based Nursing care skills thereby contributing to health promotion and illness prevention at the community level.
However, despite this acknowledgement at all levels, this profession is in its infancy when it comes to Kashmir. Many people here would have witnessed the work/patient care, the nurses perform in different hospitals of Kashmir (SKIMS, SMHS, JVC Hospital, JLNM Hospital, GB Pant Hospital and other district and Sub district level Hospitals). These care givers even risk(ed) their lives during floods, strikes, and other such disastrous occasions. Despite this, they are always up to the task of their primary duty. These Nurses (now Nursing officers – having Honor’s degree in Nursing) work in emergencies and feel blessed in caring for their own people but the people of Kashmir have to be courageous and civilized enough to respect this profession, acknowledge its nobility and repose faith in them.
I remember when nobody was ready to attend the H1N1 cases in MICU of the SMHS hospital, for fear of being infection, I use to take care of the infected persons, holding them as my own. Nursing officers working in Accident & Emergency areas, SICU’s, MICU’s, Day care wards certainly deserve a true appreciation when they look after the patients in these hectic areas even during hectic night hours.
Finally. I would like to make a humble appeal to the civilized Kashmiri people to give deserved respect and recognition to this noble profession and its adherents. These people are putting their lives at risk in they taking care of our own people. Therefore, all of us should be well aware about the hard work and zeal and grit that goes onto the making of a skilled nurse.

—The author is currently working as Nursing officer at SKIMS, Soura and can be reached at: wani397@gmail.com

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