We all have grown up while listening to the stories of superheroes. Nothing can amaze us more than if we could see them out of those books and televisions. But today, it has been made possible in the form of frontline workers. Yes, they are the real superheroes. Today, the world is celebrating International Nurses Day to raise awareness of all nurse contributions and their commitment to our society.
However, in the light of this special day, let’s enlighten our thoughts on South Indian states contributing maximum numbers of Indian nurses. According to the Indian Nursing Council, the maximum number of nurses are from South India and more specifically from Kerala.
But why, let’s find out. When CitySpidey spoke to Haridas Kolathur, a columnist residing in Kerala, he said, “There are many reasons, first that Keralites are educated, second they are not hesitant to take up a nursing profession like in other states, third I think Christian missionaries in Kerala is also a reason, fourth nurses are given a good salary, and lastly, jobs in overseas.”
According to an Indian author Meera Abraham, “The link between churches and missions and the profession of nursing in modern times is not found anywhere else in the world.”
One of the Christian nurses from Kerala said, “One of the greatest reasons behind this is Christianity. The church has encouraged nursing as a humanitarian act for centuries. In the Catholic tradition, the professions of teaching and nursing were the exclusive scope for the nuns. In Kerala, large catholic families are eager to dedicate their children to the nursing profession. Marriage is one of the reasons, many looked for nurses to marry as it made it easy for them to travel abroad.”
“Kerala having a significant Chrisitan population, the popularity of this profession should come as no surprise. We have been taught from the start that serving and taking care of people is akin to God's work. While earlier in other parts of India like North India, they never thought of nursing as a noble profession but it wasn't the same in South India. We always respected this profession. You will find almost everyone educated here and most of them contributing to the nursing profession. In most Keralite families, there will be someone abroad [especially in UAE]. Hospitals abroad pay nurses well. You will see nurses from Kerala are very caring and believe in giving the best hospitality. We know very well that nursing is a noble profession and respectable job here,” the nurse said.
In India, Karnataka has the largest number of 314 nursing colleges. Undoubtedly the Christian machinery educational and medicinal institutions greatly contributed to Kerala's popularising nursing as a profession. While in gulf countries and Europe, very few number of people choose nursing jobs, which further opens a lot of vacancies internationally as well.
“Most come from poor families, no money for a dowry, and nursing is a stepping stone to go abroad. This was the primary reason at one time. Now the situation has slightly changed. There are hospitals run by the Christian nuns where the nurses are trained very well and nowadays much in demand as home nurses too. Here education plays a part. Initially, nurses were from Christian families with the church community to help. Girls from poor families with good education preferred taking up nursing [it had dignity]. Also, it helped them to travel and work,” says Shameera, entrepreneur and a social worker residing in Kerala.
“Not all heroes wear capes, eh?”
“Nursing is one of the most thankless professions in India. Thankfully, people acknowledge us on this day. Happy Nurses Day to all the beautiful and hardworking nurses out there. One major thing is why nurses are mostly from the southern states? Statistically, it is because the southern states have the maximum number of nursing colleges in the country. Next, and the main reason is, the changed mindset of the people. Earlier it was considered that being a nurse is not good in society but this thinking has changed over time, especially in the southern states. And of course, the support from the families makes the most number of nurses from South India,” says Vinitha Thiruvengadam, BSc (Nursing) Final year, pursuing nursing final year in a private college from Tamil Nadu.
We can conclude that there is higher social dignity to nurses in Kerala, second the basic nature of Malayalees [Keralites] to “roam around and explore the world” which nursing could offer them easily, lastly, it is a noble profession for the families and they supported their children even wished them to go into nursing. All these points together contributed to the maximum number of nurses from South India.