I joined nursing for the GNM program in 1967, neither too willingly nor unwillingly. Family circumstances were such that this was the best option for me. My experience, in the beginning, was interesting but the strict rules and regulations were new for me. We used to be sent to the clinical experience from the very beginning. Our teachers were strict but helpful. I started liking nursing and by the time I completed the course I was very happy. I topped in the state council exam in the final year. And then we had a separate nine months of midwifery training and I became a full-fledged nurse (RNRM) in Dec 1970. I got posted in the maternity section of the hospital and continued working there for three and a half years that was the bond period for us. We did not pay for our training in CMC Ludhiana, Punjab rather received some stipend that would take care of our day to day expenses. Having trained at Christian mission nursing school and worked in the renowned CMC medical college hospital transformed an ordinary girl into a compassionate, committed and technically skilled and confident nurse who loved her profession and went on adding academic excellence and clinical expertise. I got sponsored for PC B.Sc. Nursing that I did from PGI Chandigarh and back in CMC Ludhiana, worked as an in-charge urban community health centre for one year and then in the college of nursing as a clinical instructor for two years. Later on, when I was working In Choithram Hospital Indore again received sponsorship and did M.Sc Nursing from CMC Ludhiana. I was the University topper in both B.Sc Nursing and M.Sc.Nursing and received Gold Medals from Punjab University, and finally did PhD in Nursing(I was already sixty years of age) from Bhoj Open University Bhopal in 2009.
I was a brilliant student and enjoyed advancing my academic career very successfully but my heart was always with patients in the clinical field be it hospital or community health settings. In CMC Ludhiana I mainly worked in the maternity section and maybe that got me interested in looking after childbearing women and made me devote my time and energy in the welfare of the women. I had good bedside experience in CMC when I came to Indore in 1979, Choithram Hospital had just started and I joined it as ward supervisor. Our Nursing Superintendent, Mrs S. Nair was an ex-army person, very enthusiastic, energetic, and expecting strictly disciplined behaviour from all nurses and another workforce under her but she had a heart of gold. I enjoyed working with her. I was the only nurse with a college degree at that time in this new hospital. Director of the hospital was interested to start a nursing training program and asked me to help him with preparing the proposal. The proposal was prepared for B.Sc nursing but after nearly three years, permission we got was for starting GNM training with only twenty seats. In the meantime, I initiated the training of nursing assistants to help ward in charges in their routine work and also assist bedside nurses in meeting basic care needs of patients. A proper syllabus was prepared for one year. The candidates were selected from among the class- four staff with minimum 8th class pass who were already working in the hospital and they were given a stipend of Rs 500/- per month. The first batch of four girls completed their training after they cleared their exam, they were given a certificate and were appointed as nursing assistants in the hospital. This training continued for many years even after GNM course was started in 1982.
I remained in the hospital as an assistant nursing superintendent and later took over as Nursing Superintendent when Mrs Nair left. The directors of the hospital would not let me leave the hospital, however, the nursing school (later college) always remained under my care, till I joined the college as Principal in the year 1996 when we initiated B.Sc Nursing program.
As I said, working with the patients was my first love, therefore, I always liked the different roles that I had in the hospital: a staff nurse, ward supervisor, Assistant Nursing Superintendent and Nursing Superintendent. My love and passion towards nursing were developed and strengthened during my studentship and my 3 years of bedside nursing at CMCH Ludhiana. In Choithram Hospital, I grabbed every opportunity to inculcate a similar spirit of care and compassion in all the nurses who worked with me. My innovative ideas such as starting the Nursing Assistant’s training, initiating a geriatric ward (which was later modified into some speciality area) starting Nurse-Led clinics in the area of Psychiatric Nursing and another for preparing pregnant women for Normal/ Natural Birth. Then demand came from the pregnant women for a Natural Birthing Center and we were able to create “SWA” the midwife-Led Alongside Natural Birthing Center in 2016.
This was not all that simple, we gained these milestones gradually as we had earned respect and dignity for the nursing profession by our actions. By creating a good team of nurses and teaching staff and increasing our visibility, we had won the confidence of not only our medical colleagues and administrators but also of the general public. People of Indore respect and admire Choithram nurses and nursing students. Academic and clinical experience that Choithram nursing students and nursing staff get at this institution makes them world-class nurses. Our nurses are working successfully all over the world and I call them my ‘AMBASSADORS’.
Where do you get ideas to do something different and something that helps you to grow professionally and also contributes to enhancing professional standards?
As far as I am concerned, I always used to read a lot ( reading is my favourite hobby), interacted with professional colleagues and attended and participated in state, national and international conferences. I am a life member of a number of professional organizations such as TNAI, NRSI, SOCHNI, NNF, SOMI, MP Voluntary Health Association, Hospital Infection Society of India, Nursing Honor Society of India, Burn Care Foundation, Y W C A, Rotary Club, Indore, Indian Association of Neonatal Nurses, Society of Neurological Nurses -India, Thalassemia and Child Welfare Society, and IAPH. Indore Birthing Network and some more. Being associated with professional and social NGOs expands your network and when you interact with others in the profession or outside with people of other professions your outlook on life changes for the better. Meeting people from different walks of life during your travel and in professional gatherings, you receive a lot of love, care, knowledge and it enhances your virtues of compassion, commitment and dedication. These virtues just overflow from you to others whom you meet because you have them in abundance.
I had a very fulfilling professional life and now when I am retired from my regular 9-5 job, I have initiated two projects, both close to my heart and soul. I started my own midwife-led clinic “MOM-Miracles Of Motherhood” where I prepare pregnant women for Normal/Natural Birthing. And I have launched my own publication house “Mullick Publications” in the memory of my father, Late Sh. N.P.Mullick. I publish the ‘Indian Journal of Nursing Studies’ biannual research-based journal and plan to publish books.
So, this is a brief account of my professional life.
Now, my message to young nurses: ‘Enjoy what you do & Be open to receive and to give’. When ideas come to your mind, share them with like-minded people, they will help you to work on them and put them into action. Don’t accept anything less than excellent, first from yourself then from others. Put your not just a hundred per cent but more in whatever you do and always know that you can always make your ‘Best Better’. Whenever you get an opportunity, meet influential people and ‘showcase’ Nursing, your profession in such a way that they are forced to listen to you and help you in solving matters that are concerned with improving the status of the nursing profession. I am saying this because I have done this. I would take an appointment with the State Health Minister, Governor of the state when we got hurdles in starting M.Sc. Nursing program. I was humble yet assertive, and they could not refuse and my work was done happily by them.
The basic principles of success are three: “clarity of mind, purity of heart and sincerity in action”, and I have seen they really work.
And finally, I believe in what famous writer Paulo Coelho says in his book Alchemist, “ When you have a strong desire for something and you are passionately working on it with your heart and your soul, the whole universe conspires to help you make it happen”
I have experienced this, not once not twice, but many times.
All the best!!!