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Injecting Dignity Into Nursing

If there aren’t as many nurses as required...you need better workplaces 

Imagine being a nurse. You study for few years, do internship in a hospital, and become a registered nursing professional. Nobody respects you even a bit. You might be worried about physical injuries than any other professional. Verbal abuse from patients, work overload, huge expectations from management, lack of respect even from other members of the community. Well. This is exactly the reason why majority of youngsters don’t want to enroll for nursing courses anymore.

Today a nurse gets less salary than housekeeping staff or security, when she joins the workforce Antonia P, Assistant General Manager, Nursing of HCG group of Hospitals

“I do not want my kids to follow my footsteps, as there is no respect for the profession,” says, Antonia P, Assistant General Manager, Nursing of HCG group of Hospitals. One of the most respected nurses of HCG, has spent 25 years of her life insisting that she will never switch careers. Coming from her the answer is surprising. Surely, a nurse as dedicated as her would want her children to follow nursing.

Antonia was only 17-years-old when she enrolled as a nursing student in St. Johns Medical College, Bangalore and she remembers being mesmerized by the career plans of her peers. “It was one of the most exciting phases of my life,” Antonia recalls 26 years on. And now 45, she is absolutely clear about her career path. “It is a tough job and someone has to do it. But I don’t want my children to enter in to the profession. My route in to nursing came due to limited career opportunities for women at that time. Today, there are many exciting job opportunities for young women.”

She points out the nursing jobs are real jobs and the women who do it should be treated with respect. “Today a nurse gets less salary than housekeeping staff or security, when she joins the workforce,” says Antonia.

Alarming statistics are reported today in journals and major newspapers. There were 2.4 million vacancies for nurses nationwide in 2012. Though certain states are harder hit than other areas, there are few areas that didn’t feel the pinch. Young women, who had historically made up the bulk of the nursing profession, faced unlimited career opportunities and were choosing to enter other fields. “The need for quality nursing care is increasing by the minute. With the increase in the elderly population -they will constitute 20 percent of the Indian population by 2050-and in the prevalence of chronic diseases, more patients will need long term care in a setting outside the hospital. We will need high quality nurses and nurse practitioners to provide this care in a comfortable and convenient way to these patients,” says Anitha Arockiaswamy, President, India Home

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