Nursing Profession and its Services during Pandemics


NURSE:-Having privilege to open the eyes of a new born, and to gently close the eyes of a dying man, the first to witness the beginning and the end of life.

The history of Nursing is as old as the history of this universe. The field of nursing continue to provide the care and treat the illnesses in all the situations. The nurse continue to be on fore front at all the time to tackle the health situations. The nursing professionals provided care at hospitals, nursing homes , clinics and even at homes when people are not able to move towards hospitals following lockdowns, Overcrowding of hospitals due to epidemics etc.

The first Islamic Nurse, Hazrat Rufaida Al-Aslamia(620 AD) Medina, the first Islamic Nurse,who obtained her medical and clinical experience from her father, Sa’ad Al-Aslamy who was physician at that time.

Hazrat Rufaida was well known for her expertise in the field of nursing. She used to treat and provide care to the soldiers during the Jihad (Holy War).She accompanied Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the battles of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, Khaibar and other in order to treat casualities.

Similary , the Florence Nightingale (Lady with Lamp) who pioneered the modern nursing served as the trainer of nurses during the Crimean War(1853-1856) in which she orgainsed care for wounded soldiers. No doubt she was having limited resources and manpower but she took the step and finally succeeded in her domain. Later in 1860, She laid the foundation of First School of Nursing at St. Thomas Hospital in London where she used to train the nurses and hence sets the base for modern Professional Nursing.

In 1918, nurses played a pivotal role in the Spanish flu pandemic that killed about 675,000 Americans and up to 50 million people worldwide. In the one year that the Spanish flu ravaged the globe, nurses worked tirelessly to care for sick and dying patients, at the same time exposing themselves and their families to the virus.

In the height of the disease outbreak, nurses worked in hospitals and private homes to treat patients. Since there was no cure for the illness, nurses provided necessary care to keep patients comfortable.

“Most people received care at home since hospitals teemed with the ill. In cities, where immigrant ghettos were considered ‘hives of illness,’ nurses visited patients in their cramped tenement flats. In rural areas, they called on patients in remote farmhouses, log cabins and shacks.

Indeed, nurses around the world are filling roles to assist in the coronavirus response. Corona Virus outbreak has created a havoc in the whole world. China ,Italy, Spain like countries have surrendered before this because the outbreak caused huge loss of human life. The pandemic has affected all sectors who are dealing with this deadly outbreak but the profession who is at more risk is the Health Sector. The damage caused by this pandemic is due to the ill preparedness of the governments overtime.

In its 2019 annual report, the WHO said the world is not adequately prepared for a global health crisis. Since pandemic outbreaks are unpredictable, global health agencies have to develop plans that will provide appropriate and timely responses, the WHO said. Among those who must be involved in planning are nurses, the organization said.

The Health Sector in J & K has been ailing on many counts. It has been pointed out by many experts that the basic as well as advanced healthcare in Kashmir needs complete overhaul. The Shortage of nursing and paramedical staff is also one of the main factors which hinder the quality care. As per the report published in Kashmir Monitor, According to the data of Government Medical College, Srinagar, all the associated hospitals in the valley presently run with only 800 nurses against a sanctioned strength of 3000 to 4000.Of the 800 nurses, only 500 are permanent and rest are working on contractual basis.

An official of Government Medical College, Srinagar, said the nursing staff posts were created in early 80’s, when these hospitals were established.

“The creation of posts is directly proportional to the bed strength. However, with the increasing bed strength in the hospitals, the staff has remained the same and the new recruitment has been done purely on contract basis,” he said. Adding to the apathy is the fact that the posts are advertised on contractual basis that too when there is a crisis, said the official.

The official noted that ideally as per the Indian Nursing Council (INC), the nurse-patient ratio should be 1:4 in the casualty wards, 1:3 for general wards and 1:5 for district hospitals. However, the situation on ground is completely different. In a 50 bedded ward of SMHS Hospital, there are only two nurses available to attend to the patients during night time. Same is the case with the lone Maternity Hospital, Institute of Neuro Sciences Rainawari and GB Pant Paediatric Hospitals, where we need extra staff in addition to the normal staffing pattern. The Shortage of nursing staff is increasing the workload which results in the mismanagement and decreased quality care.

Being on the fore front at every time the need of the hour is to equip nursing healthcare professionals with adequate PPE(personal Protective Equipments) , In-Service training regarding the crisis management and all necessary allowances (viz Risk Allowances etc). After doctors the most important humanitarian profession is of the nurses who remain directly in touch with the patients round the clock.

The nurses have lost their lives while caring for the positive cases of corona virus in Indonesia,Iran , Spain and Pakistan.The news about nurse death comes after latest figures from Italy showed that 9% of country’sCovid-19 cases were healthcare workers, Mr Catton described this percentage as worringly high.Howard Catton the Chief Executive of ICN, has confirmed the death of nurses and call on behalf of ICN for urgent action to ensure adequate supplies of PPE.

Banday Abid Shafi Misbahi is a Nursing Research Scholor From Nambla, Uri. Email:[email protected]



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