International Nurse's Day: ‘COVID Angels’ On Their Frontline Journey

“Please stay safe and be nice to nurses too!” Nurses speak out about the challenges they faced in the pandemic.

2 min read

(During the COVID pandemic, our nursing staff went beyond their call of duty to keep us safe. 12 May is celebrated as International Nurse Day to mark the contribution of nurses in ensuring our wellbeing. FIT is republishing this story in light of it.)

“What’s the difference between us and animals if we live for just ourselves?”
Nancy Dalal, Staff Nurse in Emergency Department, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram

The National Registry of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) shows that 747 doctors have died of COVID-19. There is no clear data for nurses and other frontline workers. On International Nurses Day 2021, listen to the stories of these ‘COVID Angels.”

‘Nurses Become Like Family for COVID Patients’

Nurse Dalal recalls an incident where she realised the panic in people and how empathy could help win them over. “A few days ago, a patient came to us with her husband. He had low SpO2 or oxygen and his wife was shouting a lot. 'Why aren't you doing an RT-PCR? Why aren't you checking his saturation?' I endured it and quietly did my job. Then I said, 'Ma'am let's check his oxygen, we will do the RT-PCR too. Please don't panic.' She started saying you are doing this to make money. But I understood her pain.”

“My sister died just 2-3 months ago.I hid my pain and went on duty, 3 days after her death.”
Nancy Dalal, Staff Nurse in Emergency Department, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram

She adds, “ After a few seconds, she started crying badly and saying I am so sorry, I behaved so badly. I told her I understood her situation because we also feel the same fears.”

Still, she adds that the pressure nurses work under is immense, “Please stay safe and be nice to nurses too!”

‘Second Wave is More Depressing & Has Hit Us Hard’

Neha Dethe a staff nurse from Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai says, “During the first wave, I COVID-19 was scary. Everything was new: COVID-19 patient management, wearing PPEs, we required a lot of mental support, we had disturbed sleeping, eating and elimination patterns. This affected our health. But still, we controlled the first wave.”

“The second wave has come with more severity. Everyone is getting affected, there are more severe cases and more deaths. All this is very depressing for us that despite heavy efforts we cannot control this wave. One patient is about to expire, and the next is becoming more severe. It’s very hard to manage. We didn’t have enough supplies or manpower as well. It was a lot to deal with.”
Neha Dethe,Staff Nurse,Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai

Still, she says there is a “ray of hope” when patients recover from the ICU and that pushes the staff to work harder. “Working like this has helped and we (in Mumbai) are in a much better place now.”

(Correction: The nurse at 5:48 is incorrectly named. She is actually Ms Mohini Chandrashekhar, Chief Nursing Officer, Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
Read More