• Pranjali pawde

Talk with a real corona warrior; Mrs. Preeti Rana

Updated: Sep 25, 2020

Nurses and doctors are no less than superheroes today. Saving lives, caring about those in danger, and trying to stop the growing pandemic, they are truly doing an impeccable job. Mrs. Preeti Rana (changed name) is currently working as a staff nurse at the biggest government hospital in Indore; Maharaja Yeshwantrao Hospital (M.Y. Hospital) and is also completing her post-graduation by MSc Nursing. Mrs. Preeti has not only served corona patients but has also gone through an unusual incident. As a nurse and student, she has seen both sides of the nursing profession in this pandemic. She respects her profession and is dedicated to performing all her duties. In this talk with her, she reveals many facts about a nurse’s and a medical student’s life in the ongoing scenario.

Q. “What are your roles and responsibilities in the times of this pandemic?”

My major responsibilities or let’s say the major responsibilities for all nurses, in general, are to care for the patient and provide them with required nutrition and medication while keeping ourselves safe. There are rotations of duties from time to time; therefore stating just one responsibility won’t be fair. We are also held responsible for maintaining hygiene and providing emotional support to the patients suffering from Covid-19.

Q. “What are the challenges that you face in order to complete your responsibilities?”

PPE Kits, gloves, goggles, N-95 masks, and shields are a part of important resources to treat this disease. Thanks to the constant manufacturing by the government that we have sufficient PPE kits for both doctors and nurses today, but lack of other resources troubles a lot.

As we all know, this disease spreads even through the air making doctors cautious about their own health. Doctors are not able to perform a complete diagnosis and judge the patient's condition, which ends up in incomplete prescriptions. And to top it up, even the prescriptions suggested by doctors for this disease aren’t easily available, making it harder to give proper medication to the patient.

Q. “How are patients responding to you emotionally?”

Nurses are the closest medical staff to every patient and therefore patients tend to open up more to us. This disease is causing more deaths because of panic and psychological effects than medical issues. The patients that are quarantined or isolated due to the Coronavirus do not react or ask for demands like other patients.

One case that I can remember this very moment is of two young brothers. Two boys of 10 & 12 years were found positive after their uncle and aunt were tested positive. These two little kids didn’t even know how to respond to hospital facilities and sadly, there was no one to comfort them other than us standing in fully covered kits. We had to guide them with every step from eating food to taking medicines. It was heart-breaking to see them in that condition!

Q. “Are there enough medical staff for patients?”

The ratio of nurses to patients in today’s scenario is actually scary! On average there are only 2-3 nurses at max for a room full of 20 to 50 patients. Surely, the shifts keep on changing but for hours only 2-3 nurses take care of every need for such a huge no. of patients. This is due to many reasons, one of them being the safety of nurses too. India isn’t very privileged with medical staff; moreover, to treat patients for this disease, the nurse needs to be medically fit. Lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and else make nurses unfit for the job reducing the number more. To top it all up, there are many who are too scared to work.

Q. “What are the protocols for the quarantine period for nurses?”

So, if a nurse works for 7 days in the isolation ward, they are asked to be

in quarantine for the next 14 days. We have two options for that, one we can get home-quarantined and the other is that we can choose the hostel premises allotted. If we choose to be home-quarantined, we have to strictly follow the rules and stay in an isolated space and no help from the government is provided. If we choose to get quarantined in the allotted room, we are provided with food, milk, water, and other necessities.

Q. “Are any rewards promised to you?”

No! No rewards are promised to us in writing. We aren’t being facilitated even during this time for basic things like transportation. We have heard rumors about rewards, but nothing has proven to be true until now.

Q. “What are your duty hours and how it all is being managed?”

As I told you, the lack of staff is a major issue. Our duty hours vary from 7 hours to more, but the rotation cycle is jammed here. We can easily notice that the staff that has already worked and requires a quarantine period is again appointed for duty. We have insisted on the management for appointing the staff that is deliberately avoiding their duty but we are only the ones being put up again and again for it.

Even as students when we are appointed for the duty we aren’t disclosed with the complete schedule or reasons for repeated duties. Students are not even informed about complete rules and partial information is being provided by the government, university, and even the hospital management.

Management needs to understand that even we need care and rest. Nurses are also human beings and there are many problems like lack of facilities, distant from home, or small house that bothers nurses too. Therefore all the precautionary actions are required for nurses too.

Q. “Did you go through any incident on a personal level in this period?”

Yes actually! This is a bit strange story. I was declared dead on Facebook and a picture that looked just like me with my name on it and the same position was circulated on Facebook. I got many worried calls from friends and family and we all were very troubled by it for around a week. The truth later revealed was that there was another staff nurse in the same hospital as mine and our names and faces were very similar. So much similar that even my family confused her to be me. But there was a small difference between her name and mine; we had a huge age difference too. I learned from this experience that such sensitive matters should be handled by care especially in these times by the one who posts so. It was a daunting week for me and my family!

Please click here to read about many other corona-warriors and their thoughts.

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