New Delhi : With commemorating the illustrious stories of courage, compassion and care, Military Nursing Service celebrated its 96th Raising Day on 01 Oct 2021. Marking the beginning of yet another year of commitment and dedication, a solemn Florence Nightingale oath taking ceremony by MNS Officers of Delhi Garrison was held at MNS Officers’ Mess, Army Hospital (R&R) in Delhi Cantt.
Though the gathering was limited due to the COVID-19 protocol, the enthusiasm could not be contained as each and everyone’s heart was brimming with the momentousness of the day. The day was immortalised by paying homage to the fallen heroes who laid their lives for the sovereignty and integrity of the Nation, by a humble wreath laying ceremony by Additional Director General Military Nursing Service (DG MNS) Maj Gen Smita Devrani at the National War Memorial. Many hospitals across the country celebrated the occasion by conducting seminars and symposia on the day and also by conducting health related outreach programs.
The MNS in India has a long and rich legacy, as an all women officer corps dating back to the year 1888 with the arrival of first batch of 10 qualified British nurses in Bombay, to organise nursing in military hospitals in India. On October 01, 1926, a permanent nursing service was raised as a part of the Indian Army. The service was designated as the Indian Military Nursing Service (IMNS). The IMNS made a humble beginning and increased in strength from 53 to 690 (42 regulars and 648 temporary) and their work was universally acclaimed. Promulgation of the Military Ordinance on September 15, 1943 permanently established the MNS as a part of the Armed Forces and today it ranks high among the Army Nursing Services of the world with nearly a lakh aspirants for a mere 200 odd seats.
The MNS is an integral part of AFMS and apart from providing nursing care to one of the largest armies of the world, officers of MNS in India have proved to be the frontline warriors in today’s scenario. From commissioning into the Military Nursing Service as young Lieutenants to the time of superannuation, the officers of the MNS perform their duties diligently and tirelessly, be it during peace or war.
As the COVID-19 pandemic engulfs human life today, the lessons learnt over the past centuries have helped the nurses to develop better strategies to improve their resilience towards the pandemic. The belief of holistic care laid down by Miss Florence Nightingale, the founder of Modern Nursing, has come a long way in guiding and managing the plethora of clientele with a myriad of modern-day ailments with scientifically equipped and professionally sound nurses of today. Working day and night in PPE overalls, taking care of the critically ill patients and holding responsibility and accountability for providing reassurance to the patients and also networking between the patients’ needs and interdisciplinary team in the hospital during the peak of COVID-19 crisis has made them emerge more stronger than ever.