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What does it mean to be a “Nurse”

Pakistan’s health care system facing an acute shortage of nursing professionals as a result of poor training facilities, ill behavior of patients, relatives & colleagues  and an extremely difficult work environment. There are a mere 46,331 registered nurses for a population of 150 million people. The number of doctors, including dentists, is 108,062. As a mainly female profession, nursing ranks lower in status than medicine.

More than 100 nursing schools in Pakistan have neither syllabus nor have proper teaching staff. Senior nurses act as tutors. In some subjects, teachers are hired on a daily salary, for which money is deducted from students’ stipend.

Unfortunately in countries like Pakistan nursing profession hasn’t got its due respect and status. In hospitals nurses consider to be an assistant for doctors. Patients treat them as mates or servants which is causing low self esteem in nurses.  They are harassed by young men who come in as either patients or relatives of the patient. They make nurses uncomfortable by asking personal questions and are, often unable to perform their duties due to harassment and unpleasant remarks. Asking a nurse for her phone number is a regular occurrence in the hospitals of Pakistan.

The majority of patients and their relatives regard nurses as sex symbols. Nursing students sexually assaulted in Hospitals. A male student stabbed one nurse in the back because she refused to spend a night with him.
“We need training facilities and respect,” said a second year nursing student. She shared her story that one night she heard a patient who’d had an appendectomy screaming in pain in the recovery room. She followed doctor’s orders and gave him a painkiller. Half an hour later, the patient called for her.”When I approached him, he held my hand and tried to force me on to his bed, but I ran away and complained to the registrar the next morning,” she recalled. No action was taken. An emergency ward doctor who raped a student nurse also escaped punishment, forcing her to leave the profession, mentioned by an ex-nurse. Abstract from “Nurses Get Little Training or Respect”

Another nurse shared her story of been jilted by a doctor who used her for years, pretending he was in love with her. “But one day, to my shock, he said he couldn’t marry me because he was already married,” the nurse said. She still dreams of wedded bliss. But not even paramedics are prepared to marry her, she pointed out. “Colleagues at the hospital think I am a prostitute,” she said, condemning herself for her situation. Abstract from “Nurses Get Little Training or Respect”
These are very few of true stories of nurses out of hundreds and thousands of untold stories. Nurses need nothing but respect from the society. They need recognition and appreciation for all their hard work.

At the end I would like to call all my nursing colleagues in Pakistan and tell them that Nursing is a profession to care and giving our utmost for people in need. It’s about who we are. No book can teach us how to cry with a patient. No book can teach us how to tell a family member that their parents have died or are dying. No professor can teach us how to find dignity in giving someone a bed bath. we nurses are not about the pills, the IVs, and the charting. It’s about being able to Love people when they are at their weakest moments and being able to forgive them for all their WRONGS and make a difference in their lives today. Remember! No one can make you a Nurse… You are specially chosen in the heaven to be a Nurse.


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