by Joziea Farooq

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Calls for change echo from the corridors of new government medical colleges, where nurses demand more than empty applause. They seek tangible reforms: comprehensive service rules, equitable salaries, and recognition commensurate with their dedication.

Nurses displaying the COVID-19 vaccine kit during a dry run conducted by the Health Department Kashmir at UPSC Nishat on January 2, 2021. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Nurses are the quiet weavers in the intricate tapestry of healthcare, tirelessly stitching together the healing fabric. Yet, amidst the bustling chaos of hospitals and clinics, their voices often fade into the background, drowned out by the clamour of urgency and the demands of the sick.

These unsung heroes, guardians of compassion and empathy, embody the essence of selflessness. They traverse the corridors of suffering with grace and dignity, tending to the wounded and the weary without prejudice or bias. Nature has bestowed upon them a rare gift: the patience to care for all, irrespective of community, religion, gender, or age.

This Year

The theme for International Nurses Day 2024 is Our Nurses. Our Future. The economic power of care.

According to the World Health Organisation and International Council of Nurses, “this year’s international day aims to reshape perceptions of nursing, demonstrating how strategic investment in nursing can bring considerable economic and societal benefits.”

Despite being the backbone of healthcare provision, nurses often face financial constraints and their role is frequently undervalued,” mentions WHO.

On this day designated to celebrate their noble profession, Nurses Day, the world awakens momentarily to acknowledge their tireless efforts. Yet, the applause rings hollow, a token of appreciation that dissipates as quickly as it arises.

For nurses, their vocation is not merely a job but a calling—an unyielding commitment to alleviate pain and restore hope. But beneath the façade of stoicism lies a tapestry of unspoken struggles and unmet needs.

The Role

Picture the nurse, her weary eyes betraying the weight of countless sleepless nights and endless shifts. She is the embodiment of resilience, her spirit unbroken despite the challenges that threaten to engulf her. Nurses, akin to mothers nurturing their children, sacrifice personal time and financial stability for the well-being of others. Yet, their own needs are often neglected, their dreams deferred.

In an age where even street vendors can earn substantial incomes, nurses struggle to make ends meet on meagre salaries. Government initiatives fall short, failing to provide adequate support or recognition for these vital healthcare professionals.

In a world where the value of a profession is often measured in monetary terms, nurses find themselves undervalued and underpaid. While street vendors earn substantial incomes, nurses labour tirelessly for meagre salaries that barely sustain their basic needs.

Government initiatives, though well-intentioned, have fallen short of addressing the systemic issues that plague the nursing profession. The lack of specialised roles and career advancement opportunities stifles their potential, relegating them to junior positions despite their advanced qualifications.

No Leaders

Moreover, the absence of effective leadership within the nursing community exacerbates their plight. Despite being predominantly female, nursing leadership remains a rarity, leaving nurses without advocates to champion their cause.

The lack of specialised roles and career advancement opportunities further exacerbates the situation. Nurses find themselves relegated to junior positions despite their advanced qualifications, their potential stifled by bureaucratic inertia.

Besides, the leadership vacuum within the nursing profession perpetuates a cycle of neglect. Female-dominated as it may be, nursing deserves proactive and informed leadership to advocate for the rights and welfare of its practitioners.

Calls for change echo from the corridors of new government medical colleges, where nurses demand more than empty applause. They seek tangible reforms: comprehensive service rules, equitable salaries, and recognition commensurate with their dedication.

Joziea Farooq

From the corridors of new government medical colleges to the bustling wards of established hospitals, nurses raise their voices in unison, demanding more than fleeting gestures of appreciation. They seek substantive reforms: comprehensive service rules, equitable salaries, and recognition commensurate with their invaluable contributions.

A Resolve

On this Nurses Day, let us not confine our gratitude to social media posts. Instead, let us lend our voices to amplify the demands of nurses everywhere. Only then can we truly honour their invaluable contributions to society.

As we commemorate Nurses Day, let us not confine our gratitude to social media posts and fleeting tributes. Instead, let us heed the call of these unsung heroes, amplifying their voices and advocating for the systemic changes they so rightfully deserve. Only then can we truly honour the selfless dedication and unwavering commitment of nurses everywhere.

(The author is a tutor at the Government Nursing College, GMC Anantnag. Ideas are personal.)

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