It's not just a job!

Beyond the time-honored reputation for compassion and dedication lies a highly specialized profession, which is constantly evolving to address the needs of patients . Each year, on May 12 the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth day International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world to highlight the importance of nurse’s role in providing the best health care services. I think watching this kind of presentation on this occasion at one of the valleys Para Medical Training Institute (Mubarak) at Hyderpora  inspired me to re-look in depth the indispensable role of nurses in providing care to patients. It’s about celebrating those precious moments of connection that can make all the difference to a patient experience or hospital stay such as a reassuring hand on the shoulder or a well-timed reassuring words. A chance to appreciate the incredible work nurses do  makes me very proud that we have such dynamic and committed staff in our land.

Why nurses are called sisters? A question that has always baffled me. From the earliest times Catholic nuns were also called as sisters because of them helping the poor & needy people. In the Western society, in pre-modern age, the care of sick and infirm when not entrusted to servants was the duty of nuns – Sisters.  World has produced a stream of dedicated nurses from the earliest day, Florence Nightingale, also known as the ‘Lady with the Lamp’, acknowledged and revered as the pioneer of modern nursing. One of the Muslim woman from Medina named Rufaidah Al Aslamiya (bint Saad), an empathetic nurse who was born in 620 AD.

What exactly does a nurse do? The primary role of a nurse is to advocate and care for patients irrespective of their religion, ethnicity, social class, gender, and support them through health and illness. In their contemporary role at hospitals, nurses are more involved with carrying out instructions of doctors, monitor progress of patient, administer medications, and coordinate care  in collaboration with a wide array of health care professionals. Nurses are extremely vital components to quality healthcare, patient education and satisfaction as they spend most of the time with patients. They develop a compassionate relationship with patients than doctors, understanding their individual needs and feelings. While there may be debate about whether empathy scientifically improves patient outcomes, in fact of all the characteristics that make a great nurse, empathy may be the most essential. Socialization in nursing is an integral part of developing a commitment to the profession we find in any good nurse qualities stand out, it is highly essential that nurses  possess both communication and professional  skills making a difference in the life of another person.  Remember your patient may be in acute pain or distress, desperate to have any help, it may be middle of night, when attendants may be asleep, nurse brings hope. Nursing is a true calling and through skillful and responsible performance good nurses are able to provide comfort both to patients and  attendants. Nurses  provide invaluable emotional support and  can counsel you and your family through everything, from understanding a stable condition to coping with end of life care. It is surprising that the modern society often fails to recognize their dedicated work to the extent of underplaying their strengths, skills, and even clinical abilities.

Nursing professionals deserve high level of respect from the society.  Nurses are a special people who dedicate their life to the profession of caring for others, providing holistic comfort and support to the sick through verbal and nonverbal empathetic behaviors. Sadly, there is a notion amongst many nurses that their dedicated work often goes unnoticed and under-appreciated. Successful healthcare facilities thrive when nursing representatives are involved, empowered, as an integral part of patient management. Today, many developments are occurring in healthcare, in areas ranging from technology to the delivery of patient-care, no matter what type of healthcare setting they work in.

Dr Faiz Fazili is Consultant, Surgery and Healthcare policy planning for Quality improvement.