A story of resilient nurse

Rifaqat Ullah Razarwal

CHARSADDA: “I felt like the days are approaching to death, I had lung effusion and I was having hard time breathing, I was pretty sure the days of life were over.”

Nazakat Shaheen is telling her story. She is working as a nurse in charge at the District Headquarters Hospital, but recently moved to the intensive care unit when she infected from the corona virus.

After spending two months in bed, she suddenly left for hospital duty again, but her husband forbade her that there was nothing dearer than life, added her husband that ‘she could not be selfish at such a time’.

The number of the COVID-19 patients were increasing day by day in hospital and the hospital was understaffed. “In such a situation, it is not only my duty as a nurse but also a moral obligation as a human being to serve these patients.”

“The first time I was infected with the corona virus, I was on the verge of death, but Allah gave me a second birth and started coming to the hospital again when the test result was negative. I continued to serve the patient and as well took care of my family”.

She expressed these views on World Women Day. This year, the United Nations has set the theme for International Women’s Day as “Women’s Role in Improving the Condition of the People and Decision-Making in COVID-19”.

Nazakat says my permanent job is at Charsadda Hospital, but when the corona epidemic broke out in Pakistan in March 2020, corona patients started coming to the province’s major hospitals. As the number of patients increased, the shortage of staff in the major hospitals became apparent. The Health Department shifted the staff duties from the smaller hospitals to the larger ones. “I was also shifted to LRH by the officials order.

“The corona virus is a global epidemic. There was fear in the hearts of people all over the world and people were stayed in their homes because of the fear. Hospital staff, including me, was not very familiar with the disease. Facing shortage of staff and other basic facilities, but we continued our work with limited resources. ”

Nazakat says that at the same time, the virus spread to Charsadda district like other districts, so I was ordered to move back to DHQ Charsadda.

“When I came back to the DHQ Charsadda, my throat started to ache and I lost my sense of smell. I suspected that I was affected by Corona. When I took the test, my corona came back positive, I was isolated at home for two consecutive months. I was affected by Corona, I was in a very critical condition”.

During the interview, many patients would call her and she would get up and help them. As soon as she finished, she would continue her talk . She says that when the result of the test was negative again, she would rest a little longer, but the lack of staff and the concern of the patients forced her to return to duty and started taking care of the patients in the ward affected by Corona. According to her, her husband forbade her during this time but her conscience was not allowing her.

When Nazakat Shaheen was asked what was the response from her family in the said situation, she replied that I have two children and a husband, the husband used to ask me to quit my job for the sake of my life but from the day I started working, she was determined to face all kinds of difficulties with courage.

“Unfortunately, while listening to the family, I fell ill again while working in the isolation ward and all the symptoms of Corona reappeared. But even then, I continued to take care of the patients of COVID-19.”

Regarding the care of her family, she said that she has the full support of her husband in the matter of duty, adding that when the number of Corona patients started increasing, the duty was due to lack of staff. As the duration of the duty began to increase, she decided to do the housework jointly in consultation with her husband, which gave me some relief.

Regarding social attitudes, she said that she has the full support of her family members in performing his duties but the mental stress arises when she is harassed in various ways by the men of the hospital management.

“Patient care is possible when you work with an open mind, but here the hospital union members try to influence in our duty roster and other matters. Someone says you will do duty at a certain time or do duty at a certain place, etc.” So it becomes difficult for us to work in such an environment. ”

Nazakat says she worked as a front-line worker in the treatment of  COVID patients , who faced all sorts of difficulties if the relevant authorities solved the problems of health workers, especially of nurses. They can face with all kinds of situations just like men.