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International Nurses Day: The Life Of A Nurse In The Pandemic

This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

(Hi dear readers, by the medium of this story, I wish to bring to light all the hardships and challenges faced by female health workers and sensitize everyone about the same.)

A very hard-working, multi-talented, super smart, and dedicated nursing officer, Ms. Laxmi Ashrawat is currently working in a government hospital in Jaipur. She is known for her exceptional work and honesty at the workplace. Before taking the story ahead, let me tell you all, she is also one of my kindest and helpful neighbors. Knowing her closely is no less than a delight to me.

A nurse helping a coronavirus patient
Representational image.

Nurses and healthcare workers have had to work tirelessly during the pandemic.

Her Dreams

A girl from a middle-class Indian family whose dreams were never really valued but her self-motivation and dedication were enough to make her reach such a respected public service.

After her nursing training in Ajmer, she came back to Jaipur in 2011.

She had very few resources at home but indeed her dreams were high. Soon after she came back to the city, she wanted to join some coaching to prepare for government exams. But it never happened because of a financial crisis in the family. She worked in a private hospital for a few years, earned money, and bought herself all the books that were required. While talking with her, I got to know how difficult it was to pursue self-study besides all the work at the workplace and house chores.

Her family has always remained very patriarchal in nature. Just like every other family in India, she as a girl was expected to do all the household chores and manage her own tasks herself simultaneously. People used to make fun of her studious nature and demotivated her with every means possible.

But few people tried giving their support from time to time when needed. With her intelligence, consistent hard work, and little support from her family, she managed to crack the exam and made it to her dream job in 2016. The story does not end here. This is just the beginning of a self-made nursing officer.

The Outbreak Of The Pandemic

With the outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19),  many countries called for a lockdown. While all the industries, offices, educational institutions, and other departmental works were ceased for months. The medical department has been continuously working day and night for us. With PPE kits covering them head to toe, health care workers are dedicating extra hours of duty to save the lives of people globally.

Not only in the present context, but they have always proved that they are no less than God for the entire human community.

Ms Laxmi was the first to wear the PPE kit in her department. Her experience was filled with pride and pain both at the same time. Do you know why? It was her second day of periods (menstruation) when she was asked to wear the kit. There was barely any supply of kits and other necessary tools in the very beginning. Hence, all the health workers were made to wear it for 10-12 hours. They were even restricted to use toilets. Bleeding all day and not being able to pee or change pads were never discussed in public talks.

Due to restrictions and guidelines, no public transport was there in use. She told me about how she used to drive to far distances to pick her friend who worked with her. She shared the experiences of a lot of her staff members who had to stay away from their families here in Jaipur for work and all the difficulties they faced. Being a localite, she served as a big helping hand to many of her friends during the lockdown. All these stories brought tears to my eyes and I believe this is the kind of sisterhood we all need in this world.

Ms. Laxmi believes that her job needs 24/7 attention and a great deal of passion. All because of deliveries of newborn babies. To keep the newborns and their mothers safe, all of the health care workers were asked to sanitize themselves again and again.

All the health workers were greatly challenged in their personal and professional lives. On one hand, they were asked to sanitize themselves for a safer surrounding at the workplace and on the other hand to keep their families safe at home by maintaining proper social distance. Most of them have experienced a hard quarantine time too.

Image provided by the author.

Her Life In Quarantine

Quarantine. Oh, god! The word is distressing in itself. Ms Laxmi shared her feelings while being away from home in her quarantine days. Tough days and two-week-long isolation after that. She told me how horrific everything was for her. Nothing could make her feel happy and satisfied but her selfless and dedicated service. Meanwhile, we were getting to read about a lot of depressing Covid quarantine stories from all over the globe.

This became one of the major reasons for mental illness and depression for people in great numbers including the health workers. The health care workers who are also mothers of very small children had to stay away from them for several days. All the isolation resulted in great emotional trauma. While a lot of common people were enjoying games and trying new dishes at home, these warriors were struggling to spend a few times happily with their loved ones

Ms Laxmi is one of the youngest, most honest, determined, and intelligent nursing staff members at her workplace. All her seniors in the workplace admire her. She has been awarded the best worker appreciation award for her dedicated service.

Besides that, she has also been a very kind, generous, and helpful human being to the people in need. Being a part of the medical department, she treats all the people with equal care and a lot of generosity.

While the patriarchal society in our country challenges the strength and capabilities of women in various sectors. Ms Laxmi and many other female health workers like her have proved that women are not subject to any sort of weakness. Their stories of survival, strength, and love continue to inspire the globe.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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