‘We Say A Prayer Daily’: Delhi Nurses Caring For COVID-19 Patients

At the forefront, nurses are more at risk of contracting the contagious coronavirus.

3 min read
A group of nurses say a prayer before starting their day at a Delhi hospital.

A group of nurses caring for coronavirus patients in a government hospital in Delhi’s Dilshad Garden have a new routine – they say a small prayer before staring their day at work.

“We start our work every morning with a prayer and we pray that every patient who has tested positive recovers soon. We also say a prayer for our own safety. We want to perform our job to the best of our capabilities but that can happen only if we don’t get infected ourselves,” said a nurse who did not want to be identified.

By being at the forefront, nurses are at higher risk of contracting the virus. Especially, in an area like Dilshad Garden, which has been declared a hotspot and sealed by the Delhi government, as of Wednesday, 9 April.

“There is no religious significance. We just say the prayer so that we feel positive and we feel ready to take on the day and provide the care that the patients need. Sometimes, they get too scared because they are always watching the news.”

The nurses in the hospital say that it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between a person who has tested positive for the contagious virus and others – and thus the “apprehension only comes naturally.”

“A person with flu shows exactly the same symptoms as a person who has tested positive for coronavirus. So, there are only so many precautions that one can take – wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits, sanitise and hope for the best. I am proud to be serving patients at a time like this.”

‘Don’t Want Patients to Feel Like a Burden’

A senior nurse, with over two decades of experience, says that while the nurses are apprehensive about contracting the infection, they also want to make sure that they don’t put the patient in an awkward position.

“The last thing we want to do is make the person feel like they are a burden and they will give us the infection. Also, ‘social distancing’ is hardly possible when we are taking care of patients. We should all be empathetic and give them the best possible care,” she said.

However, the nurses, especially those working in the coronavirus ward, have to ensure that they take complete precautions when they head back as they could potentially carry the virus home.

A young nurse, who is just one year into her job, elaborating on the precautions says:

“It is mandatory for us to stay away from our family members in a different room. As soon as I come back from duty, I go straight to the bathroom and take a bath with shampoo and soap – from head to toe. Right then, we also wash our clothes. We don’t want anyone to come in contact with it, Then, from inside the room, we communicate with our family members. It is painful but we don’t want to take the risk.”

Healthcare Workers at Greater Risk

A doctor and 11 nurses of a government-run cancer hospital in Delhi tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday.

The medical centre was closed down last week after a doctor had contracted the disease and later, six other nurses were also found to have the infection. 

This hospital, too, is located near Dilshad Garden.

In a separate incident earlier this week, around 30 healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses and technicians at the Cardio-Neuro Centre in AIIMS in New Delhi have been advised to undergo quarantine after they came in contact with a 72-year-old man who tested positive for coronavirus.

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