After I read the emails from Sri Gopal Mohanty and Mamata Misra about the launch of the nursing student assistance program by SEEDS in Odisha, I had an intense desire to know more and do something for this project. My wish was personal and was a form of reward, as I am perhaps the first Odia Nurse in North America. I got into nursing to pursue my passion to help sick people when they are in need. I had no clue about the Nursing Education and condition of nursing students in Odisha, since I did my nursing studies here in the USA. Nursing is considered to be a noble profession and there is steep competition to get into the program in the US schools. Nurses earn a good salary here.
I wanted to know more about the nursing education and the students there. Mamata connected me with Mr. Chaudhury in Odisha, who has been managing this project for SEEDS. My first conversation via telephone with him was very informative. He made arrangements for me to meet the nursing students via Zoom and sit in some of the classes they are attending. Since I am retired, I have time to sit in some of the classes with the students. I sat in four classes. These were classes, where the students learned life-skills for nurses, which are very important. The teachers were professionals; teaching with power point presentations, and traditional questions and answers. I observed the students’ reactions to the teaching carefully.
Initially, some students were hesitant to talk to me. But as they got to know me, they warmed up to me. Each student had a beautiful smile that lit up with enthusiasm to learn. I shared with them my personal experience as to how to be a good, capable nurse in a demanding job like nursing. I encouraged them to do self-care. I gave the example of an air hostess’s job in air. How they advise us to put the oxygen mask first on us and then later on our children. How we must take care of ourselves first to survive, so that we can take care of others. This was a new concept for them, as we women are taught to do for others first, being in the service area.
In each session that I sat in, I shared my own practical experience. How we can lessen the burden of a real sick patient and their family just by our presence and kind attitude. I also shared with them to be strong mentally and physically at any critical time for their patients.
I loved the innocent, smiley faces of these young, intelligent students, who are eager to become the future nurses that will take care of our older population in India. I gave my contact information and asked the students to reach out to me if they needed to talk to me. In the meantime, I am requesting all who can to help financially so that these students can finish their education. They will be like Goddess Annapurna who can take care of our loved ones when they are sick. The photo is a screen shot I took with their permission when I was in a Zoom class with the students.