Over this winter break, I have been able to spend three weeks in India, studying with the Nursing program. I have been given the opportunity to complete clinical hours for my nursing internship in two different hospitals here in Bangalore and Indore. It has been an incredible trip so far, and I am learning and growing in more ways than I can count.
Nursing is a profession that can be found worldwide. No matter where you are, there will always be sick people, and they will always need someone to care for their needs and help to bring them back to health. Nurses are an indispensable part of the healthcare team, and your skills as a nurse can be utilized no matter what state, country, or continent you are in. Although nursing is a profession found worldwide, it is interesting to see the differences between nursing practice in different countries. As I am spending time in the hospitals here in India, it is very interesting to learn about how nursing is practiced here.
The biggest thing that I have learned about nursing here is that it is more than just a profession, it is a calling. Whenever you ask someone here why they wanted to become a nurse, 9 times out of 10, they will say that it is because they want to help people. The majority of the nurses in the country are from Karola, a place known to have the most caring people in India. The job of a nurse is very hard here, making it imperative for nurses to feel called to nursing. Hours are long, many nurses often working six 12 hour shifts a week. Pay is low, with most nurses making around $2000 a year. Work is strenuous, performing total care for many patients at one time. Therefore, everyone who is a nurse is a nurse for a reason greater than just for themselves.
Another incredible aspect about nursing in India is the community created among healthcare workers. The doctors, nurses, nutritionists, PTs, and aides all get along well and share a special bond. They are not just coworkers, they are friends too. The bond is especially strong among nurses, as most of them not only work together, but also live in the same hostel together. They are known as “the sisters” and on and off the ward treat each other like family. The medical community is truly a community, and not just a group of separate individuals working together.
Finally, nursing in India is a responsibility. Nurses are responsible to give their patients the best care possible, to represent their family well, and to maintain the honor of the nursing profession. Nurses in India have to advocate for their patients, perform all essential care for their patients, and help meet their patients’ emotional and psychological needs as well as their physical needs. There is a lot resting on a nurse’s shoulders and they are trusted with many complex tasks.
Experiencing nursing in India has given me a broader view of the nursing profession as a whole and a different perspective on nursing in a different context. This trip has already expanded my knowledge of nursing incredibly and opened my eyes to so many new experiences. I am learning a new appreciation for all different types of nursing practices and have already grown so much during my time here.