Muscat: This year's International Nurses' Day will be bittersweet for one person in Oman — a nursing supervisor who just bade farewell to a 'noble' career that spanned 33 long years, but surely after such an enriching journey, this is not the end for her.
Valsala Nair, 62, who spent her last working day at the Atlas Hospital on Saturday, joined her husband in Oman on a family visa in 1979 and started working as a nurse later at a private clinic.
"My first posting was in Nizwa at a time when there was no electricity there. Power lines were installed later," said Nair, who hails from the Indian state of Kerala.
Nair was trained in the army where she always dreamed to work when she was a child.
"When I was a child, I used to watch the news, and I was always interested in the way medics in the army were treating the injured. So I chose to become a nurse to be able to join the army," she told the Times of Oman.
Nair had served at two clinics in Nizwa and one clinic in Barka before she joined the Atlas Hospital. "This is my fourth year at this hospital."
It feels great to be a nurse because this is one of the best ways to contribute to the people around you, she said, adding, "It gives you immense satisfaction when you see a patient has recovered and is going home with a smile on his or her face. It is a noble profession."
"It is a stressful job, no doubt, but when you go back home and feel that you have done something for a patient, you feel wonderful," Nair said.
Asked what makes the job of a nurse more difficult, she said that the impatience of the relatives and friends of some patients who gather at the emergency section usually makes the task more difficult for the staff.
Journey of progress
Having lived in Oman for three decades, Nair has witnessed the progress of Oman in all areas. "Oman has developed a lot. It has prospered very fast."
According to her, this development can also be seen in the nursing profession. "When I came here, there were hardly any Omani nurses. But now they are so efficient and knowledgeable, thanks to their hard work and the support of the government."
"I used to teach English to some Omani girls from the interior in my spare time, and now they are working in top positions," she said, adding, "I'm still encouraging both boys and girls to become a nurse because it is a very rewarding job."
On the average salary of nurses in the private sector, Nair said it is 'good'. "However, I think a grading system should be developed for nurses in the private sector so that they can be paid according to their grade."
"I also think that nurses should not be required to overwork when they start their career. It negatively affects their work," she said.
Struggling to hold back her tears, Nair talked about her feelings on the last day of her work. "It is a mixture of sadness and happiness. I am happy in the sense that I am going back to be with my family and sad because my colleagues were like my own family, my own children."
"I am already a part of Oman. I hope to come back again to Oman, work here and contribute more to the country. I have not retired," Nair concluded.