Inspiring Story – International Nurses’ Dayadmin
“I walk out of the ICU, find a quiet place, and allow my emotions to flow — I burst out crying. For a change, these are tears of joy. A minute ago, my elderly patient, while gasping for breath, thanked me for helping him fight loneliness,” says Rachel Immanuel Bundellu, ICU nursing supervisor at Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre
Rachel (54) has been in the nursing profession for 33 years, & despite having substantial experience in dealing with emergency cases, she has frequent meltdowns these days. She can show it to neither her patients nor her co-workers, who all derive strength from a veteran nurse like her.
In March 2020, ICUs were converted into COVID-19 ICUs. Rachel had to not only train other nurses but also ensure a sufficient supply of resources to her floor. Just when she thought the worst had passed after the first wave, another one hit.
“This time, a patient is stable this minute & dying the very next. Our workload has increased five times. We cannot take off our PPEs, which is suffocating. Knowing that I am at high risk of infection, there are fears & anxieties,” she says.
“Learning about a patient’s life helps me remember that each statistic represents someone’s daughter, father, sibling and so on. The journey is different for each — some die & some leave, thanking the staff for their recovery,” says Rachel.
Rachel wakes up at 4 am every day, completes her chores, and travels by train for an hour to reach the hospital. She puts on her PPE, briefs the nurses & doctors, and begins her rounds.
“By the time I am home, I am physically and mentally drained. All I want to do is hug my children. But of course, I cannot. The pandemic has changed how I live at home; I don’t remember the last time we all shared a table during dinner.”
Rachel’s life, like that of many other frontline workers, may have turned upside down, but she tries to look at the positive side. “This is a crisis for everyone, but I am grateful that people are following protocol and cheering us on.”
Nursing has been described as the noblest profession in the world, and on this International Nurses’ Day, we commend Rachel’s efforts in keeping her team’s morale high.