They are the inconspicuous cogs that keep the IIT-M machine well-oiled and running. Without them, insti would be a much poorer place. Yet, too often, we don’t notice them, or acknowledge their role in insti life. Given their unique vantage point, they have stories to tell – stories that give us a different perspective. We believe those are stories worth hearing and worth telling. Because, after all, stories are what make us human.
(All the articles in this series can be found here.)
My name is Saraswati. I am a nurse in the institute hospital and I work the night shift from 8:00 PM to 7:00 AM. I have been working here for the last five years and live opposite the Sarayu Extension with my husband and two daughters, who are ten and two. My husband is a businessman and my elder daughter studies in the KV school in campus. My native place is in north Tamil Nadu.
I graduated from Omayal Achi College for Nursing. I worked at Apollo for five years, then Ravindra Healthcare Center for some two to three years and later as a nursing tutor for about a year. After that I joined in here. What made me join? I spotted an advertisement about job openings for nurses in the IITM hospital and then I applied and got selected. Since then, I have been working here as a nurse. I didn’t know much about the institute before working here except that engineering students give a tougher exam to get in here than the state-level exam.
I feel that students in the institute do not take good care of their health. They tend to skip meals, don’t sleep on time and some don’t even take care of personal hygiene. Many are untidy and don’t take bath everyday while some don’t even bother to brush their teeth daily. It might be because they are overloaded with academics but they should not ignore their health and hygiene. Girls in the institute are very lucky because often when they fall sick, five-to-six guys are present to help her and get her food!
Of all the cases I have attended here, most common ones among the students are fractures or trauma injuries and communicable diseases like typhoid. Sometimes their condition is more serious when they come with seizures or get sick due to poisoning. Among older patients who come here, we have emergencies due to cardiac problems. We shift patients to tertiary hospitals when patient’s condition is critical and we have to do it quickly apart from making sure that we diagnose it correctly because the patient can’t afford to lose time.
On an average 30-40 patients come during my night shift. Sometimes students play football at two in the night and then get injured and come to the hospital. I advise them against playing sports late at night. I would also advise them to wear protective clothing when they go to mosquito prone areas. Sometimes students come to address normal colds late in the night around 10-11 PM which is the emergency timing and I request the students to come during day hours unless there is an emergency, because the number of staff are fewer during night emergency timings.
When the academic year starts in August, I see more students visiting the hospital as compared to other parts of year. Many of them are first year students who come with stress problems related to homesickness while some of them fall sick due to seasonal changes.
Students at IITM are very good natured and respect hospital staff. They smile at me if they see me somewhere outside the hospital like at shopping center. Even if I don’t recognize them, they remind me of treating them and I feel good. I am happy with my job here and might pursue Postgraduate studies in Nursing later. I love the clean and green campus of IIT Madras. My daughter gets good education at KV which promotes concept understanding rather than just rote learning.
I tried asking her twice if she faced any problems in the institute or in the hospital or if she had any bad experiences while working here, but she really didn’t have any. She hesitatingly blushed when I asked for her photo before agreeing. She is very cheerful and it’s always a pleasure to talk to hospital staff. Their compassion and solicitude is always contagious.