Contributing Writer — Yashika Bhati
Name – Brijbala Maheshwari
Profession – Nurse in a Government Hospital
Age – 65
Gender – Female
City – Meerut
Industry – Nursing
- To be a good nurse, one must have genuine intent and interest in helping ailing patients, otherwise, you will not happy in this profession.
- Nurse job requires you to be very patient and high ethical and moral character.
- Work life balance is a challenge, as one has work in shifts (sometimes night shifts) and on weekends (like Sunday).
- It’s a very time-consuming and demanding profession but worth the effort considering the amount of respect one gains as a nurse.
- There are negligible costs of training and education as a nurse.
- There is availability of a good amount of salary and facilities provided by governmental institutes and hospitals.
Where have you been born and raised?
I was born in a small district of Meerut called Mawana. It was in Meerut where I completed my school education and college. Since birth to job, I spent most of my life in Meerut.
What is your family background?
I belonged to a middle-class family of the 1960s. My father was an English teacher in a good government school while my mother was a homemaker. He had considerable respect in the neighborhood and at his school due to his commendable proficiency as a teacher. I had a younger brother and an elder sister who have both turned out to be great professionals in their respective fields today.
Who had the most influence on you and how?
My father had the most influence on me and on everyone in the family. He was a hard task master who valued qualities like discipline, cleanliness, punctuality and responsibility and to integrate these values into us, he took up strict measures. It’s because of him that I turned out to be the person that I am today both emotionally and professionally.
Please give a summary of your career, chronologically, including organisation names and your role/designation.
I got first inclined to the profession of a nurse when I was a girl of thirteen and read about Florence Nightingale — “The lady with the lamp”, but I wasn’t motivated enough to start working towards the career. It was only after the death of my husband leaving me with three children to look after alone in a patriarchal society that I took the training of a nurse from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Medical College and Hospital and started my career in the same hospital as a government nurse. I worked for nearly thirty years in the hospital, half the time as a Staff Nurse and later got promoted to the post of Sister In-charge.
Which institutes are best for the training/education of this profession?
There are several institutes providing nurse training today, but I suggest taking training from a good government institute only. The costs there for education are negligible and there is more job security as you can work as a permanent employee in the government hospital after training. I suggest taking training from some of the best nursing colleges in India like: RAK College of Nursing, Delhi; Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai: Nursing; SNDT Faculty of Nursing, Mumbai; Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai: College of Nursing etc.
What are the costs associated with the training/education of this profession?
Well, as I took training from the nursing school associated with the government hospital — Sardar Vallabhai Patel hospital, the training costs were almost negligible. My service bond was considered the fee of my training. If you take training from an unaided nursing school or college, the cost would be ranging from 60k to 2 lacs per annum INR.
What are the typical entry level jobs in this profession?
There are many ranges of streams in nursing today. It differs from stream to stream.
The most basic level of entry is Auxiliary Nurse Midwife/Health worker course. Eligibility for ANM is only completing class 10th and it’s for the duration of 18 months. General skills of nursing are taught to deal with health issues of children, mothers and old people.
I got trained in General Nursing Programme which requires one to pass 12th with PCB stream. It’s a 3 years program where general nurses are taught to function as part of health team in first-level positions in hospitals and other places.
One can also go for B.sc in nursing which provides four years of training where one gets basic knowledge about nursing, first-aid and midwifery.
After B.sc, one can purse M.sc of 2 years which involves specialization in any of the huge range of fields like Psychiatric Nursing, Pediatric Nursing, Nephrological Nursing, Oncological Nursing, Critical Care Nursing, Nephrological Nursing and Cardiological /CTVS Nursing.
What is the range of remuneration one can expect when starting out in your line of career & industry?
It ranges from the types of nursing and the organisation one works in. This data is relevant for my field of nursing i.e. General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) and may not equally apply to other fields of nursing.
Describe your work?
The work of a nurse depends on her post. I basically worked at two levels throughout my career — Staff nurse and Sister in-charge and my duties varied in both the cases. A nurse is supposed to be promoted every ten years but due to administrational reasons and deficits in vacancies, I couldn’t get much promotion, but my salary increased every year irrespective of my post.
As a staff nurse, my duties included looking after the patients and their needs in accordance to their medical condition. I provided them with proper medicines and injections on proper time with respect to the orders of my seniors. On an average, a single nurse looks after five patients but it’s flexible. I was often assisted by student nurses who helped in the work and learnt from their seniors.
I got promoted to the post of Sister in-charge after approximately ten-twelve years. My duties now involved ward management in which I had to supervise the workers of a ward according to the needs of the patients and the wards. My wards changed every four months. These were Emergency ward, Extensive Care Unit, Eye ward and ENT etc.
A nurse must work six hours per day in a single shift. It may include night duty or day duty. There are no holidays on Sundays and only eight holidays available in a single month which you can utilise flexibly.
What are some of the positives which would encourage someone to consider this career/job? Mention your income comparison with your friends.
Being a nurse gives you the professional opportunity to help those who are in need. Just like a Doctor is considered equal to God, a nurse gets no less respect than a Goddess. The noble nature of the job, respect associated with it and the prospects of treating the ill back to life are the qualities of the job which may intrigue anyone to join this service sector.
Earlier, it was a profession dominated by women but today men are also trained to become nurses.
My friends are mostly from the same career line and some are doctors also. The Doctors get better salaries than a nurse does, but it’s less about the income and more about job-satisfaction. I was satisfied with both my job and my income.
What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering this career/job? Also, please talk about work-life balance and money.
As a starter, a nurse has to deal with a number of social challenges that come in the form of perverts, rude or insolent patients. There are many instances where the attendants of a dead patient start blaming the hospital authorities and the staff concerned.
A greater post means greater responsibility. As a Sister in-charge, I was answerable to all my seniors and the hospital authorities. Even if my juniors made some mistake, it was me who was responsible for it and had to answer the authorities.
Also, directly dealing with a number of people suffering from communicable and non-communicable diseases puts you under high vulnerability of catching any of those deadly ailments. Thus, one has to be really careful while dealing with the patients.
Balancing life with work was never easy for me until I was new to the profession. I’d three children to look after and the pressure of job. But with due support of my family, I could give them a good life subsequently balancing my job. After they got settled, I lived alone and was free from any kinds of domestic responsibilities and thus it became easy to balance life and work altogether.
There was no shortage of money ever. It was always sufficient for me and my kids. And even after getting retired, I get 50% of my salary as pension.
What are the relevant skills/technologies/trends that are commanding premium in your job profile?
A number of innovations have revolutionised the medical sector. There is great demand of nurses and doctors and great increase in medical colleges and institutes preparing a huge number of qualified doctors and nurses every year. Nurses today specialize in a number of skills giving birth to a number of trends, from which GNM and ANM have always remained important.
The students are trained to work in a number of trendy areas that are in great demand today: General Nurse, Teacher of Nursing, Military Nurse, Community Health Care, Industrial Nurse, Service Administrators, Deputy Nursing Superintendent, and Nursing Service Overseas which are all commanding premium in the job of a nurse.
What kind of a person would be happy in your career?
Not everyone can turn out to be a lady with the lamp. It requires a lot of patience to deal the patients. They can be rude, demanding and annoying but you have to be patient all the time. Also, it’s a job meant for those who are full of compassion and generosity for others.
The word “nurse” originated from the word “nourishes” and that’s actually the job of the nurse. They’ve to be willing to help others. A considerable feeling of empathy is required to be a good nurse. A person with all these qualities is made for the job.
Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned? Would you pursue another profession or a passion perhaps?
Though I was very satisfied with my job, I always considered being a teacher of nursing. I liked the company of my juniors and teaching them work. But I could do it as part of my general day-to-day duty, so I never went for it.
What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path like yours?
Work hard, be open to challenges, and show professional assertiveness and value ethical behaviour. You’re going for a noble profession which must show in your personality.