Occupation: Staff Nurse, Government General (Beach) Hospital
“Casualty, ICU (intensive care unit), labour room — they are all challenging postings. Your life-saving skills come to the fore in the casualty. It can give you a lot of heart-rending moments too. I remember dealing with one such accident recently. The male patient was already disoriented when he was brought in. We put in the best efforts from our side and he was referred to the Medical College Hospital. When such incidents happen, the first thing you do the next morning is to scan the newspapers praying not to find the name of the patient. But I found out he had died. Such instances stay with you.
I have been working as a staff nurse since 1998. I joined duty at Alappuzha Medical College after completing my nursing there. I am the first one to be a nurse in my family; friends drew my attention to this profession. I came to Kozhikode in 2003 and have since worked at the General Hospital and also at the Mental Hospital.
The job does stress you at times, especially when you have tough postings like the night shift at the casualty. You will have to inevitably deal with alcoholics and drug abusers. Recently, I was assaulted by a drunken man and we had to call the police. Earlier, cases pertaining to alcohol and drug abuse were restricted to weekends but now it begins by Friday and extends through the week. Those are trying times since they hardly understand what you are telling them. On a night shift there would be two staff nurses, a casualty doctor and house surgeons and it extends from 7.30 p.m. to 7.30 a.m.
Recently, we had a man who took a long time to regain his memory post an accident. In such cases, if he has a mobile phone in hand we try to find the relatives. If the patient has to be taken to the Medical College, we make arrangements for it. Often, we get patients who are alone or have been abandoned. There have been instances when we have bought food and clothes for them. If there were better facilities here, we could do much more medically for the patients.
Labour rooms are equally tough. With each birth, till you see the baby out and find everything is well with the mother and child, we keep praying. It has not changed after all these years and seeing so many childbirths.
I have always received good support from my family. I live with my husband and two children at the government quarter at NGO Quarters. I came to Kozhikode with my five-month-old son. Since I have my night shift after 18 days, my husband has mastered the act of putting the children to sleep. Knowing that my job is such, even neighbours have helped immensely. Though the job involves a lot of stress, quite a few among the nursing staff have hormonal imbalance and thyroid dysfunction, I will never tell anyone not to choose it.
As told to P.ANIMA
(A weekly column on the men and women who make Kozhikode what it is)