UPDATED: May 12, 2021 14:13 IST
The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc in India. Doctors and healthcare workers have been working extremely hard to save precious lives. Like doctors, nurses have been at the forefront of fighting the pandemic. Nurses have proved to be the lifeline of India’s fight against Covid-19. Across hospitals from big cities to hospitals in rural areas, nurses are muscle, the connective tissue, the nervous system.
On International Nurses Day on May 12, the World Health Organisation highlighted the importance of nurses in the healthcare system by dedicating the theme this year to nurses — ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead-A Vision for Future Healthcare’.
We take a look at five instances where nurses, at the forefront of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, went out of their way and emerged as the hero amid an unprecedented crisis.
1. Pregnant nurse continues duty, wins many hearts
A nine-month pregnant nurse on Covid-19 frontline in Karnataka emerged as a shining example of selfless dedication to work, with Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa expressing his gratitude and requesting her to go on maternity leave. Roopa, working on a contract basis at Jayachamarajendra Taluk Hospital in Yediyurappa’s home district of Shivamogga, insisted on continuing to discharge her duty despite health officials’ advising against it citing her advanced pregnancy and surfacing of Covid-19 cases in the district.
“Roopa, I am amazed to learn about your efforts. It is nice to learn that a woman from my district is putting in so many efforts. At least now, please take a rest and return to work after delivery… I humbly request you to take rest from today,” the Chief Minister told her.
The nurse was deputed to Gajanur in the same district to tackle cases of coronavirus. She travelled from Teerthahalli to Gajanur by bus for her duty. Despite a spike in cases, Roopa remained adamant that she would continue to serve the patients during the pandemic. Finally, the matter was brought to the notice of Yediyurappa, who called Roopa and requested to take care of her health, following which the nurse agreed to go on leave.
2. ‘Hand of God’: Brazil nurses’ innovative idea to comfort isolated patients
To comfort Covid-19 patients in isolation, nurses in Brazil came up with an innovative idea that imitated human touch. The nurses used two disposable gloves and tied them up after filling them with hot water. Sadiq Sameer Bhat, a journalist working with the Gulf News, shared an image in which the inflated gloves were kept on the hands of a patient so as to provide him with the feel of human touch.
“‘The hand of God’ – nurses trying to comfort isolated patients in a Brazilian covid isolation ward. Two disposable gloves tied, full of hot water, simulating impossible human contact. Salute to the front liners and a stark reminder of the grim situation our world is in,” the post read.
After the image was shared on social media, it garnered thousands of likes. Most users agreed that such healing touch was really necessary during this grim period.
3. Nurse sings to patients in ICU. Heart-warming goes viral
Video of a nurse from Ottawa in Canada singing for patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) was widely shared after it surfaced on social media.
The video was shared on Twitter by the official account of The Ottawa Hospital, where the nurse, identified as Amy-Lynn Howson, works.
The video was shared with the caption, “This is Amy-Lynn. An endoscopy nurse at The Ottawa Hospital, who has recently been redeployed to the ICU. Here she is with a beautiful song for our patients… “You are not alone”. Thank you for lifting our spirits, Amy-Lynn! #StrongerTogether (sic).”
The video shows Amy in scrubs and a face mask with a guitar in hand. She sings You Are Not Alone in the video to cheer up her patients.
4. Nurse continues her Covid duty while observing Roza
A four-month pregnant nurse in Gujarat’s Surat emerged as a shining example of selfless dedication to work in the time of the Covid-19 crisis. Nancy Ayeza Mistry has been attending her patients at a Covid care centre while observing fast in Ramzan. Despite knowing that she is vulnerable, Nancy Ayeza Mistry has been performing her duties efficiently. She tends to the patients at Atal Covid-19 centre at the Althan community hall for eight to ten hours daily. “I have a child in my womb, but my duty is important to me. By the grace of God, I have the opportunity to serve the patients in the holy month of Ramzan,” she says.
She had worked in the same Covid-19 care centre during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
5. Indian-origin nurse in Singapore conferred with President’s Award
A 59-year-old Indian-origin nurse in Singapore was conferred with the President’s Award for Nurses for serving on the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic. Kala Narayanasamy was among the five nurses given the award.
Narayanasamy, who is the Deputy Director of Nursing at Woodlands Health Campus, was awarded for using infection control practices, which she learned during the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, in the current pandemic.
She tapped on this experience to introduce workflows and standard operating procedures to convert wards at the Yishun Community Hospital to care for Covid-19 patients.
She was also involved with the modernisation of nursing in Singapore, with her past projects including the implementation of a self-checkout inventory management vending machine to track the usage of items.
“I will always tell our nurses who come and join us: ‘I think nursing will never fail to reward you,” she said. “All these awards and promotions and everything has your name (on them) and are just waiting there for you to come and claim … your full passion for what you’re doing is always rewarded.”