A faithful first responder in Dubai has said the holy month has been the toughest ever for medics as they balance faith and duty at the same time.
Nazeera Syed is among the thousands of devout Muslims who work in hospitals across the country.
They work long hours, wake up before dawn to eat, then go without food and water throughout the day as they tend to highly infectious patients.
Ms Syed, a nursing director in a Dubai hospital, said the past weeks have been taxing but fasting during the holy month has helped her stay alert.
“As nurses, we just don’t feel tired this Ramadan, though the challenges have been the toughest,” said the 45-year-old who heads a team of 100 nurses at Medeor Hospital.
“Once the patient is doing fine, then you feel great satisfaction.
“Fasting is not physically difficult but helps me keep focus on the spiritual. I feel more active when I’m fasting, it keeps me even more attentive.”
She wears full personal protective gear when she enters the hospital’s Covid-19 intensive care unit to monitor patients and explains how stifling the layers are for nurses on a 12-hour ICU shift.
“The gear makes you dehydrated and our nurses who are fasting must wear this continuously during the shift,” she said.
Nurses remove the overalls when they step out for a short restroom break and pull on fresh protective layers when they re-enter the ICU.
“Wearing it for a long duration is tiring and it takes time for the body to get adjusted to it.
“Nurses work with so much courage. They don’t utter a word to object when we call for extra duties.”
Apart from supervising patient care across the hospital, she manages the schedules of the nursing team.
“I need to handle the pressure of managing the floor, understanding when the nurses need rest and keep the balance especially during Ramadan,” said Ms Syed who has worked in Dubai since 2005.
"Even staff who were on vacation have been called back to work."
In earlier years, medics worked for six hours during Ramadan leaving sufficient time to cook an iftar meal and pray.
Courtesy : The National