Florence Nightingale Award: Odia nurses Sibani Das and Khulana Barik work tirelessly with enthusiasm

During COVID-19, while Sibani was posted at Tata COVID Hospital at Sitalapalli, Khulana was working at district headquarters hospital (DHH) in Jagatsinghpur.

Published: 05th June 2022 08:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th June 2022 05:29 PM   |  A+A-

Khulana Barik (middle) with her team of nurses

Khulana Barik (middle) with her team of nurses. (Photo| EPS)

Express News Service

BERHAMPUR/JAGATSINGHPUR: Both Sibani Das of Ganjam and Khulana Barik of Jagatsinghpur have two decades of experience as nurses and have handled lakhs of patients so far. But even today, their enthusiasm to give the best of the treatment to every patient is unmatched.

During COVID-19, while Sibani was posted at Tata COVID Hospital at Sitalapalli, Khulana was working at district headquarters hospital (DHH) in Jagatsinghpur.

Both the women worked round-the-clock despite difficult job conditions and leaving their families behind to ensure that every infected person and pregnant women who were brought to their respective hospitals during the pandemic returned home hale and hearty.

Their dedication has fetched them the prestigious National Florence Nightingale Award for the year 2021. "During the first and second waves of COVID-19 pandemic, there was chaos everywhere. Apart from treating the patients, we had to also ensure that they were always in the right state of mind and never depressed," said 50-year-old Sibani who stayed put in the hospital to devote all her time to patients and met her family only on a few occasions during the two years. 

She admits it was not easy but her patients were her priority then. Hailing from Kantabania village in Jajpur district, she has been working in MKCG Medical College and Hospital since 2007 and is currently the head nurse.

"We received symptomatic and asymptomatic patients in large numbers. They had to be attended to throughout day and night as their oxygen saturation and temperature was to be regularly checked. Many survived, but a few did not. Under those circumstances, watching a patient falling victim to the coronavirus was overwhelming," said Sibani. 

Her parents worried about her safety during the pandemic, but Sibani remained undeterred. So did Khulana. Although their shifts lasted for 8 hours, both the nurses covered in safety gear and face shields were present in the wards and ICU round the clock.

As far as Khulana is concerned, be it the pandemic or natural calamities, she carried on with her duty of bringing pregnant women including those COVID positive to hospital for safe delivery and taking care of their newborns. 

During cyclone Yash in 2021 and subsequent floods in Jagatsinghpur, Khulana used her network of ASHAs and junior nurses to bring all women in their final stage of pregnancy from rural areas and villages nearby Jagatsinghpur town to the DHH for safe delivery and offered her services beyond duty hours.

"There were 50 pregnant women who were brought to this hospital before the Yash cyclone hit the district. Thirty of them were COVID positive and they were extremely nervous about this new disease and feared for the life of their newborns. Calming them down was the biggest job at hand because even their families were not allowed to meet them or see the newborns," said Khulana who had joined DHH as a staff nurse in 2003. 

She had worked with private nursing homes in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar for several years before returning to the government job again. In the last 25 years, she has handled several pregnancies and family planning cases of both tubectomy and laparoscopic operations besides immunisation drives.


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