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International Nurses Day 2022 - An inspiring story of Neelam Lall
“I always wanted to be a doctor, and my mother wanted my brother to be a nurse. The nurses’ forms were out, but back then there were no male nurses. So, one of the attendants told my mother to ask me to fill out the form. That's how I got into nursing, and since then, there has been no looking back.
I joined as a nurse in the cancer department at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in 1982. I was the only nurse there with a specialisation in Oncology, Palliative Care, Stoma Care and Mastectomy nursing. I used to see other nurses doing palliative care just for the sake of doing it. I was a little upset about that but that inspired me to learn Palliative Care Nursing. Soon I was promoted to the role of senior nurse, and with that came more responsibilities. I won the National Florence Nightingale Award for the Best Nurse in 2015 by the Honourable President of India Mr. Pranab Mukherjee. Also, I was awarded a WHO fellowship in 1983. I further pursued Oncology Nursing in Manchester (UK). I have worked in the bone marrow transplant unit, medical oncology, radiation oncology and surgical oncology.
I enjoyed my tenure thoroughly at AIIMS as a nurse. I came across heart-touching stories of patients, and my department would do our every bit to bring smiles to their faces. I remember a patient who had stomach cancer and was blind. His daughter used to come to stay with him every day. She was in her 10th std, and I observed her every day studying in the hospital. She went to give her board exams from the hospital and then again came back. Once her father told me please make my daughter a nurse like you and after 2-3 days he passed away, but his last wish remained with me. I made sure his daughter studied well and fulfilled her father's wish. Today, she is a brilliant nurse in a renowned hospital. There were few patients who were not able to afford medicines so I and my team used to contribute to buy medicines for them. During that time, I conducted various training sessions for aspiring nurses and counselling sessions for the people who needed a ray of hope.
In 2018, I retired from AIIMS. All these years of service wouldn't have been possible without my cooperative husband and understanding children. Post-retirement, I had no plans to sit back and waste time, so I joined Devam Wellness Centre as a Chief Nursing Officer and worked there till 2020.
In 2020, COVID-19 came along, and the scenario of the whole world changed in just a few months. In the pandemic as well, I was never off duty and continued helping patients. I visited COVID patients' homes to give them Immunity Booster Drips, helped more than 70 patients day & night by giving them home service and did counselling over the phone. My only goal was to help mankind and until today, I render my services to the needy and help people via phone or video calls.” - Neelam Lall - Khyaal Community Member