Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Nurses' Day 2015

Fading human touch

I asked an old retired nursing matron about what she thinks of nursing today. Without hesitation she said, “It is not as good as it used to be before. I miss the days when nursing used to a real vocation, not just an employment as it is now”. This sentiment is not an isolated one but shared by most senior and retired nursing staff. 

These comments may come from senior nurses who are ill prepared for the present-day sophisticated system of operations in the medical field. Nevertheless in the name of progress and modernization we must admit that we have lost some of the cherished values of the nursing profession of the past - the personal human touch, which is so important in the care of the sick. In fact the virtues of empathy and human touch are the basic qualities that makes the nursing profession exceptionally unique and noble.

Nursing the sick is no ordinary task especially when those nursed are total strangers and there is no love attached to them whatsoever. It used to be a vocation where a nurse has to have some feelings for suffering fellow men who are sick and dying, otherwise it will be extremely difficult to be a good nurse. But today with the advances in medicine this human touch is slowly but surely being replaced by high-tech mechanization. 

Moreover with commercialization, privatization and lately corporatization of the medical services, not only are our nurses losing the human touch but are being subjected to numerous clerical and accounting jobs, leaving little or no time for true nursing duties for which they are trained. The corporations they work for are driven solely by monetary profits and in this system there little or no appreciation for loyalty and dedication of the poor nurses who are often abused not only by the authorities but even by patients and their relatives when things go wrong.

Not only are the hospitals are run like big corporations, even the training of nurses are corporatized where nurses are churned in large numbers with no proper clinical training like before. Therefore we have a situation where the hospitals are flooded with poorly trained nurses junior who have to cope with the management of patients with the meager skill they have. The sad thing is there are hardly any seniors to guide them as the majority of them have all migrated to greener pastures.

Nurses today work under great difficulties and are under tremendous pressure from within and without. The demands on them are tremendous, at times very unreasonable. Amidst these limitations we salute those who still hold on the age old tradition - smile and personal touch in their service to the sick and dying. 

The nursing profession is in for major changes to meet the present day needs of the people. We may not have the Nightingale model of Nursing Education anymore of course we can adopt a system to produce our own Nightingales to care for our sick with a heart of passion and human touch.

Happy Nurses Day

Friday, May 08, 2015

Permatang Pauh by-election

People’s wisdom taken for granted

 This is the second time within a week, voters have sent a clear message to the PM and his ruling Umno-BN government and to the fragmented Pakatan opposition of their frustrations and unhappiness on the ground.In both places the incumbents may have won but it wasn't a real win that they would have been too pleased with.

First it was the voters of Rompin and 2 days later the voters of Permatang Pauh in the respective by-elections. The voters in these constituencies have sent a clear and loud message in no uncertain terms that they are deeply upset with what the BN government is doing with their money.

The voters of Permatang Pauh have sent a clear message to PM Najib that they are solidly behind their former representative and opposition Leader, Anwar Ibrahim. They have also indicated that all is not well for the people on the ground. The high cost of living has placed them in great difficulties, more so by the newly introduced GST. They are not ready for the GST which is generally perceived as ill planned and rashly implemented. There is a general feeling that the ruling elite have lost touch with the plight of the ordinary man on the street who is struggling to make ends meet.

The people are not happy with the financial mismanagement at the highest level and abuse of power by the authorities to silence those who expose the many weaknesses in governance. Priminister Najib and his Umno-BN must take heed of the calls of the voters in these two constituencies as they reflect of the sentiments of the majority of the 30 million citizens at large.

To the Opposition Pakatan Rakyat they have indicated their unhappiness in the way they are fighting among themselves over their differences. They are deeply disturbed and saddened for being let down for all the trust they placed in them. In both these by-elections the voters have shown great wisdom, which was grossly under estimated by both BN and Pakatan.

Pakatan too must make concerted efforts to put aside their differences, especially the Hudud issue, and unite behind their common grounds to forge a stronger, united and formidable force as an alternative government after the next general elections.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

No love greater than a mother’s

Recently during a visit  back home I asked my 84 year old mother whether she was unhappy or angry with me for the way I am treating her. Without the slightest hesitation she replied, “How can I ever be unhappy or angry with you. You were the world to me for over 60 years and my life always centred on you”. I was rather touched by what she said. How I wish I could say the same about my children, when I am at my mother’s age if I survive that long.  

My mother is not educated and was extremely poor during her younger days but she had always done her best for me throughout my life. To me she, like most mothers, symbolises the extreme example of love for a child.

This brings to mind the story of an eighty year old woman whom I know. Her husband passed away recently and she lives with her only son who is about 52 years of age and single. Recently her son was admitted to the hospital and had to undergo an operation that ended up with some complications. He was in the ward for over a month and was finally recovering was surprised that his elderly mother goes to visit him every day without fail. Rain or shine she will be there every evening bringing food and spending time with him.

Going to the hospital was not that easy for this frail 80 year old woman. She had to take two buses and travel about 30Km to the hospital, spend time with the son and travel back again. Despite the son advising her not to travel every day as it carried great risks at her age, she continued to do so out of love for him. Her inconveniences, risks and pain did not stop her from making that arduous trips daily just to be with her son who was ill. At that age all she had was her son and she well knew that he too had only her in the world. I was so touched by this strange mother-son relationship which made me conclude that there is no greater love than of a mother for a child.

Looking back into our own lives, I am sure each one of us would have such unique experiences with our own mothers. Today many of us stand tall, successful and respected in society. We may have worked hard to achieve all that we have now but it was due to her sacrifice and love we managed to succeed. I am not sure if not for her we will be what we are today.

On this Mother’s Day it may be proper for us to reflect on our past and the sacrifices of our mother for our well-being. Directly or indirectly she is responsible for what we are today. It is only right for us to express our deep gratitude for all she had done. It is not money, food or expensive gifts she wants today but a little of our time, our company and a permanent place for her in our hearts. Is that asking too much at the twilight of her life? We were and continue to be the world to our mother but is she the world to us now?

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