Female nurses suffer for lack of separate facility
By Sumiya Shah
SRINAGAR: There is no separate washroom for women in Srinagar’s SMHS hospital. The nurses use the same washroom as the men do, after deputing someone at the door as guard.
“It is highly embarrassing,” the nurses said of their working conditions. “We request someone to guard the door to prevent men from entering it,” a head nurse said.
The nurses also complained that apart from there being no separate facility for females, the washrooms at the hospital are dirty and most of them without bolts from inside.
“Even toilets for the patients lack running water, have no latches on doors, stink, and the floors are always wet and slippery. The toilets are poorly maintained and almost impossible to use. It is a problem for everyone, but particularly for the women working in the hospital,” Rehana, a nurse, said.
In the ENT ward, there is only one washroom with a prominent signboard of “GENTS”. The nurses have no other option. “There is no specified washroom for ladies,” a nurse in Ward 1 said.
A senior nurse at Ward 5 of the hospital said, “There are only two washrooms in the ward, one for the patients and the other for the doctors. We don’t exist anywhere in this scheme. We have to use the doctors’ washroom. During the night hours, we have to knock on the doors of resident doctors to use the washroom. We feel offended as people in the ward look at us with suspicious eyes.”
According to the nursing staff, complaints have been made to the administration but nothing has been done so far. “We have written to the Principal of GMC and to other authorities many times, but no one is paying heed to our complaints. This is one of the biggest hospitals in Kashmir. How can they play with the health and hygiene of the nurses who are dealing with so many patients every day,” a senior nurse said.
Trainee nurses said they are not allowed to use the more hygienic toilets which are kept under lock and key. “Such toilets are always locked and we do not get access to the key. We have to go to the hostel when we need the washroom, which takes a lot of time as the hostel is far away from the hospital,” Shafia, a trainee nurse, said.
Medical Superintendent of SMHS, Dr Nazir Chowdhary, said on this issue, “We are working on the problem. As there is lack of space in SMHS for constructing separate washrooms, we will have to wait for some time.”
He added, “When the construction work for the Super Specialty Hospital is complete, we will shift some units there and construct separate washrooms for nurses in SMHS.