Nurse Maibam Ranita Devi- Her inspiring journey towards becoming a Florence Nightingale Award winner

The life journey of nurse Ranita is an inspiration to say the least. However, life was not always rosy for this Florence Nightingale Award winner. She has recounted several stories of her life including a road accident on the highway which took the life of her young mother at the time. She was only in the 8th standard then and rues her inability to do anything for her mother in those moments since she was too small to make a difference. She did not know how to serve her mother in her final moments. She could not live long after the accident and this incident spurred Ranita towards becoming a nurse when she grew up, with a mission of serving those who are old, weak and poor.  

Ranita was desirous of transforming into a full-fledged nurse after finishing her secondary course although her brother and father put forward strict objections to her future studies at any nursing institution. In spite of the same, she went to Guwahati for getting admission into her nursing course with one of her friends. When she landed at the Asian Institute of Nursing Education, GNRC Guwahati, she faced language barriers since it was the very first time that she was away from Manipur, her native State.  

However, she was chosen to get admission into the prestigious institution and the rest as they say, was history. Her father finally agreed after she attained admission and she overcame one of the biggest hurdles of her life en route towards becoming a successfully trained nurse. After losing her mother, Ranita spent her childhood in the care of her maternal grandmother who was also weak and old. There are several incidents as she has recounted, where she wished to serve her grandmother properly but was unable to do so owing to the lack of knowledge. The inability to serve her grandmother and loss of her mother are key factors recounted by Ranita which made her determined to choose nursing as her profession.  

As a successful nurse who is a beacon of inspiration for the nursing fraternity not just in her home State but also the entire country, she has witnessed several memorable events, chiefest among them being the receipt of the Florence Nightingale Award and also an interesting incident where she visited a cancer patient at his deathbed in her community village. When she arrived, he asked if could sit outside his home for some time. This wish made her tearful since he was bedridden for a long duration and just wanted to gaze at nature, sitting outside his home. In that moment, she promised to help him achieve his goal and enabled him to sit on the veranda the next day. He looked around and emotionally stated that he felt reborn again, while stating that he would not have any more regrets, even if he passed away at that very moment. Nurse Ranita has stated that this incident made her feel that small gestures and actions of caregivers mean so much to their patients who require immense mental and physical assistance alike. She has labeled this as her special moment throughout her entire nursing career.  

She is greatly inspired by Florence Nightingale and her undying spirit to serve wounded armies in the past. She also talks of the rising number of nurses today who have excelled in their fields but remain relatively unknown and unrecognized. There are several great institutions, facilities and organizations started by nurses in the country as well. Nurse Ranita feels that nurses play a vital role in diagnosing and understanding issues faced by patients while observing each ailment minutely as part of their duty. The actions they take, according to her, equate to paying the price of love, care, trust and comfort for people in their lifetimes, who require company, particularly people who are weary and ailing. She wishes that the world wakes up to the need for recognition and support that the nursing and midwifery community needs for upholding their profession. They are the ones who tirelessly serve people in various scenarios and Ranita Devi herself is a huge inspiration for everyone aspiring to be a nurse and existing professional nurses alike.  

Today, Ranita Devi is staff leader at the wellness center in Awang Wabagai along with offering mid-level nursing and health solutions in the Imphal district of Manipur. She has also completed the half-year course held by the Indira Gandhi National Open University. However, it has not been smooth sailing for her always. Personal loss, grief and determination have been key influencers for her journey along with her own hard work, skills and big heart alike.


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