Nurses deserve praise, thanks, protection amid COVID-19
Nurses and other health care workers on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19 deserve to be recognized and commended for their lifesaving efforts and personal sacrifices amid increased medical risk.
The International Council of Nurses and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are jointly celebrating International Nurses Day this May 12, to laud nurses around the globe, and in particular those managing an unprecedented workload by treating patients with COVID-19 while also maintaining other essential health services.
Nurses serving vulnerable communities in poorer areas of the world are also particularly at risk due to COVID-19. As it turns out, the World Health Assembly’s designation of 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife was a prescient show of appreciation.
Here we present some stories of the nurses and the undeniable role they serve:
Naik Muhammad, Charge Nurse, Children’s Unit, DHQ, Bajaur, KP
One evening, as I was on my shift in the Children’s Unit, we received a patient who was injured in a bike accident. A young boy of 14 or 15 years, accompanied by distressed parents. As I approached the patient, I realized he was unresponsive. I recognized the signs and immediately began to administer CPR with 2 breaths followed by 30 compressions.
Alhamdulillah, the boy was revived and went on to receive the care that he needed. I had participated in the ICRC’s Basic Life Saver’s training four months ago. And the simulations and exercises we did there, helped me respond to the patient’s needs in time. The training taught us to anticipate these situations and respond accordingly. In the end, that made all the difference to the kid and to his parents.
Iqdar Ali, Nurse, Neuro-Trauma Unit, Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar, KP
Last Ramadan, I was on the night shift at the Emergency Neuro-Trauma Unit at the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar. It was close to sehri time, a mother held her infant close to her as she swayed to soothe him, and perhaps herself too. As we were preparing to have sehri, the mother called out ‘da maashum teek na de’, this child is not well. I went over to check and noticed the infant had cyanosis, his color had turned blue. I realized something was blocking his airway.
I passed him an endotracheal tube and managed to resuscitate him after administering 2 cycles of CPR. The time for sehri had passed in the process, but I was happier that day than I had been in a long time. The infant’s parents, who had earlier been difficult as I administered the ETT, later came to thank me for saving their child. I cannot describe how great it felt. What’s interesting, is that I had only learnt the ETT procedure a couple of month prior to this incident, at the Emergency-Room Trauma Course, held by the ICRC. Though the course is meant for doctors serving in emergency units, I joined the course as a facilitator, and benefitted from the practical modules. I was also able to handle the stress of the parents’ interference, and trust in what I know. I feel that our ability to act confidently in emergencies and at the right time, can be a matter of life and death to someone.
Saeed Bahar, Charge Nurse, Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar, KP
It was day-one of the Basic Life Saver’s training at the LRH hospital, and I had stepped out to check on my work. I used my breaks to tend to hospital matters as was acting manager for my area. A patient complaining of stomach ache came in while I was at the triage desk. I administered a painkiller injection that was prescribed to him by the doctor, but I could tell that he was not well. I asked him to take a seat while I called for a stretcher.
Before I had time to react, the patient collapsed. I rushed to check his pulse and immediately began chest compressions when I could feel one. The stretcher arrived in the meanwhile and I continued compressions as we rushed the patient to the CCU. The doctors and medical staff at the CCU managed to resuscitate him. We also arranged for a ventilator but thankfully, it wasn’t needed.
Moments ago, I was at the BLS training with my palms placed on the chest of a dummy. I remember pausing to ask a question and the trainer said, ‘start the CPR or you will lose the patient!’. Even though it was a dummy, the trainers made sure that we saw them as patients, and responded exactly like I would have to, in the emergency unit.
Because that moment was so fresh in my mind, I made sure to continue compressions from the moment of collapse, all the way to the CCU. The doctors said it helped prevent his situation from getting worse.
I made a follow-up visit with him later that day. Seeing hi stable and on his way to recovery gave me a great sense of relief. I cannot stress enough; how important it is for medical staff to have this kind of vigilant training and preparedness.
Nargis Bibi, Charge Nurse, Accident and Emergency Unit, Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar, KP
One day when I was on duty at the Lady Reading Hospital, we received a road accident trauma case. I tended to him as the doctor advised and assigned him to a bed. I went on to proceed with his paperwork while he received his IV line. After some time, the attendant called out saying his IV had run out. When I went to remove the line, I saw that the patient had grown very since I last saw him. I immediately called for additional medical staff, and informed the doctor. In the meanwhile, I had his blood samples sent for testing. I noticed that my attempts at relieving his condition were not working, so I arranged for a bedside ultrasound test. I just knew that time was precious, and I had to take initiative.
The patient was eventually taken to the Operation Theater and I had to return to the nurses’ station.
I have worked in the emergency unit for some years now, but never before this had I felt so empowered to act on and trust my professional experience. The ICRC supports a lot of work at the LRH but it was the Golden Hour training I had recently attended which gave me the confidence to act in time within my professional capacity.
Hussain Muhammad, Surgical Emergency Nurse, Emergency Department, Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar
As a nurse, I am usually the first point-of-contact for patients coming into the operation theatre, many of whom are in very unstable conditions. This is why I enrolled in the first batch of the basic life skills training program that was conducted with the ICRC’s support. Knowing how to properly administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be the difference between life and death for patients, something we as nurses have to deal with many times a day.
These stories were put together by the ICRC.