Nurse's Day 2022: Nursing Staff in India Talk About Their Pain in COVID Times

Nurse's Day: “Working in a COVID ward is becoming a major cause of not only physical but also mental pain."

5 min read
Hindi Female

(12 May is observed as International Nurse's Day to honour and celebrate the contribution of nurses in ensuring our wellbeing in trying times. FIT is republishing this story in light of it.)

In the ongoing war against the COVID-19 pandemic, the nursing staff of our country are wearing masks on their faces, wearing gloves in their hands, and standing on the frontline with their chests tight.

Their service-spirit and determination did not allow an atmosphere of sorrow to be created in many families of the country.

Today, when lakhs of people are getting infected every day in the third wave of COVID, the need of the hour is a healthy and dedicated nursing staff.

Unfortunately, it is not so, because the number of infected nursing staff is also not less.

To know the reason behind this, FIT tried to talk openly with the nursing staff and administration of some hospitals.

There was no response from the administration in this regard, and some nursing staff refused to comment because they feared disciplinary reaction from their hospital administration.

At the same time, others also gave a good deal of shocking information about the condition with a request of anonymity.

New COVID-19 Guidelines Affecting the Health of Nursing Staff

Nurse's Day: “Working in a COVID ward is becoming a major cause of not only physical but also mental pain."

The new COVID-19 guidelines have added to the worries of the nursing staff.

(Photo: iStock)

“In the first, second and now third wave of COVID, the nursing staff have been working, but this time we are forced to fight many other problems due to the new COVID-19 guidelines,” A nursing officer at Safdarjung Hospital, who has been working in the COVID ward for the last 2 years, told us.

Nisha (name changed), the hostess of Delhi's Safdarjung Government Hospital, says that no facility is being provided by the hospital administration to the nursing staff for quarantine if they are COVID positive while on duty.

Due to this, not only do they have to remain quarantined in their respective homes, but the possibility of spreading the infection to their families increases. This has become a cause of great concern for all of us.

“Working in a COVID ward is becoming a major cause of not only physical but also mental pain. While on the one hand it is affecting our immunity, on the other hand, the stress, sorrow and fear of getting infected with COVID all the time makes us mentally terribly disturbing."
Nisha (name changed) Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi

At the time of the old COVID-19 guidelines, while on duty, the hospital administration was responsible for the upkeep and care of health workers in case of COVID positive.

“In the past, the nursing staff performing COVID duty were kept on duty for 14 consecutive days. During that time they would go home on hospital expenses. After 14 days of duty, on doing a COVID test, if it came negative, they were sent home for a 10-day quarantine leave. If they tested positive, the hospital administration arranged for their treatment, thus protecting the family of the healthcare workers. But this time the situation is different."
Sangeeta Thakur, Nursing Officer, Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi

Nursing staff doing COVID duty every day are also taking home the risk of infection somewhere.

On 13 January 2022, AIIMS, Delhi, while making changes in the COVID Guidelines, was asked to give 7 days special medical leave to the nursing staff.

Salaries and Leaves Are Deducted of COVID Positive Staff

"In the new COVID guideline, 7 days of quarantine is being given to the nursing staff if they are COVID positive, but that 7 days of quarantine is being cut from their own medical leave or EL. The nursing staff was informed about this guideline after they took the leaves."
Nursing officer at Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP), Delhi.

With a request for anonymity, the nursing officer of LNJP Hospital told FIT, “All of us nursing staff are serving people in the COVID ward day and night. If we become COVID positive during this period, the hospital administration will deduct the quarantine period from the rest of our leaves."


On the other hand, Adarsh Kumar (name changed) of Safdarjung Hospital says, “All of us nursing staff are risking our lives for the country, doing COVID duty every day and losing our own leave on getting COVID positive, which we can use for our or our family's needs".

"On being Covid positive, monthly salary of contract nursing staff is being deducted. Neither job guarantee nor full salary is being given. Is this the reward for serving the country?
Adarsh Kumar (name changed), Nursing Office, Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi

COVID Positive Nursing Staff Compelled To Save Leaves and Salaries

Nurse's Day: “Working in a COVID ward is becoming a major cause of not only physical but also mental pain."

Our nurses are struggling to get leaves and salaries.

(Photo: Altered by FIT)

Forced to save salary and leave, what are COVID positive nursing staff doing?

On this, the Nursing Officer of LNJP Hospital said, "Despite being COVID positive, they are coming to the hospital. Due to which the risk of spreading the infection to others is increasing. At the same time those nursing staff are also facing negative reactions from others."

“The official levels of the hospital administration are pressurizing the COVID positive staff to come to work.”
Nursing Officer, Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan Hospital, Delhi

Nursing Staff Shortage Amid Third Wave of COVID

How will the country cope with the increasing shortage of nursing staff amid the third wave of COVID-19?

This question was asked by FIT to the administration of some hospitals and some nursing staff. The answer was received only from the nursing staff.

“I am working here as contract nursing staff for five years. It has been 2 years for me and many like me working day and night in the COVID ward. Instead of giving a permanent job, they are threatening to fire us."

"Modi ji had talked about giving bonus to the nursing staff working in the COVID ward for 100 days and to give priority to contract nursing staff to make them permanent staff. Which we are all waiting for till today."
Adarsh Kumar (name changed), Nursing Office, Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi

Talking about the shortage of nursing staff in hospitals, the administrative officers of some hospitals are pressurizing the existing staff to come to work even in illness.

On the other hand, there are talking of removing the contract nursing staff as soon as their tenure is completed, said the Nursing Officer of LNJP Hospital.

(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.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from fit and coronavirus

Topics:  Nurses   COVID-19   Frontline Workers 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More