To the hands that tend

She kept her calm while the patients and their families swarmed around like bees.

I met a nurse recently who may well be a perfect example of Florence Nightingale. Nightingale was called ‘Lady with the Lamp’ for making rounds of wounded soldiers at night during the Crimean War. She may have been the pioneer of modern nursing but the nurse I came across seemed to be carrying forward the reputation earnestly.

I was at a general hospital in the vicinity to get some immediate treatment. It was there, in its overcrowded waiting room, that I met the nurse. She was surrounded by patients and their families, but exuded a bright and sunny disposition. I marvelled at how she maintained her calm while they all swarmed around her like bees.

When things started getting out of hand, she paused and firmly told them all to get in line. Then began the argument as to who was to follow whom in the elusive queue. The nurse said she was aware of who had come first and who followed thereafter. That quietened all. She then asked the weak and infirm to sit.

When my turn came, she said I needed a drip and had to lie down for that. But there was no empty bed. She looked around with an eagle eye and told her assistant that one particular bed would be empty soon. We proceeded to that bed. While lying there, I saw how she was making efficient use of the resources available.

When an old man asked for a blanket, she told her assistant that a patient was not using the blanket provided and that the old man should be given that. Later, a frail aged lady asked the assistant for a pillow, who refused her request point blank without even looking around. The nurse, however, took immediate cognizance of the elderly woman’s request and a pillow was soon found.

A while later, a new patient came and had to be put on a drip. But there was no drip stand. The nurse looked around and saw that there were two stands, each being used by me and another patient. Every drip stand generally has two hangers that can be used by two patients when placed between adjacent beds. This way, the extra stand was given to the patient who needed it.

Once done, I was told to lie down for a while to rule out any side effects. There was a lull soon. I wondered how the nurse went about discharging her responsibilities day in and day out. It is the nurse’s duty to take care of the sick and the injured, and to nurture. But while some perform their duties grudgingly, a few put in a wee bit more cheer. And that happens, I concluded, only when one loves the work one does.

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