Nursing Starry Dreams

Nursing is not completely a thankless profession as the legendary Florence Nightingale must have felt. After all, after back-breaking hard work and tending to patients, there are days when intangible rewards come by, in the form of the grateful smiles of patients, a good word, a note of appreciation or even in some cases, a huge mention for their contribution from the hospital staff, seniors, doctors and other management authorities. At a time when the coronavirus crisis has put Governments and countries in disarray, disrupted our daily lives, jolted us into an environment of self-imposed and fearful hibernation, nurses are our unsung heroines, working round the clock tirelessly to serve those infected with the virus, taking unimaginable risks in the bargain. 

Smt. Annies Kanmani Joy (D.C. Kodagu District Karnataka) (left)
Image From Twitter

A story of one such nurse who came from a really humble background will inspire any Indian citizen without a shred of doubt. Before we delve into the finer details of her journey through the vagaries of life, let us take a moment to examine the present. Imagine working frenetically to combat risky landslides and taking steps to contain the COVID-19 spread today, working round the clock and responding immaculately to the call of duty. That is Annies Kanmani Joy for you, IAS officer and Deputy Commissioner of the Kodagu District in Karnataka. Why a decorated and impeccably hard-working IAS officer in a prologue about nurses? Well, if you didn’t know already, Annies comes from a rather humble background. But what you should know is that breaking a thousand glass ceilings and professional barriers, she is one of the very first professional nurses to gain selection into the IAS (Indian Administrative Service) in the year 2012. 

Some Quick Facts

Facts and figures are intrinsic parts of every story although we will not liberally use them here! Here’s taking a look at some of the quick facts about Annies and her remarkable story. 

  • Annies Kanmani Joy was one of the first nurses to be chosen as an Indian Administrative Services officer in 2012. 
  • She is the Deputy Commissioner of Kodagu District in Karnataka today. 
  • Under her leadership and dynamic vision, Kodagu District currently has lower COVID-19 cases and is ready to resume normal life once again. In fact, sometime earlier, no new cases were spotted in the area for a long period of time. 
  • Annies cleared her Civil Service examination in 2012, getting the 65th rank likewise. 
  • She has a B.Sc degree in Nursing from Trivandrum Medical College. 
  • Her optional subjects for the Civil Services examination were Psychology and Malayalam Literature. 
  • She has undertaken ICAS training at Faridabad in Haryana. 
  • Before her current posting, she was the Tumakuru ZP Chief Executive Officer. 
  • Along with tackling COVID-19 in her district, Annies has done a commendable job in speeding up flood relief and tackling disasters like landslides. 
mt. Annies Kanmani Joy (D.C. Kodagu District Karnataka)
Image From Facebook

An Incredibly Inspirational Journey 

Coming back to the sheer strength and grit demonstrated by Annies, let us go right back to the beginning. This remarkable lady hails from the truly remote Pampakuda Village in the Ernakulam District. Struggle was a part of her daily existence from the beginning. The daughter of Leela and Parappalil Joy, Annies was always a meritorious student who often had to struggle for books and access to proper resources and learning materials. Hailing from a farmer’s family, Annies would never have imagined that she would one day get into the prestigious Civil Services while becoming a beacon of inspiration for so many professional nurses throughout the country. 

Annies always had a dream to become a doctor and serve the needy and underprivileged. She took the examination for her MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) after completing her schooling and finished her graduation in nursing. She finally became a nurse and integrated herself into an immensely gratifying and hard-working environment. Her father always had a dream that he nurtured, however, namely, getting his daughter into the Civil Services. 

Annies faced a volley of problems during her preparatory phase for the examination. Along with her daily struggles, she faced issues owing to a severe lack of suitable competitive magazines and books along with other resources. Examination preparation proved really tough for her in this scenario. However, a positive Annies decided that newspapers would be her sole preparation source and her never-say-die attitude is what ultimately ushered in success and how! Annies was selected at the 580th position in the Civil Services examination the year before she became an IAS officer. She was chosen as a member of the ICAS (Indian Civil Accounts Service). She took ICAS training at Faridabad, Haryana, as well. However, she was really keen on becoming an IAS officer. Hence, she took the examination once again and the rest as we all know today, is history! 

Snippets and Insights Galore

Throughout this journey, Annies demonstrated resilience, determination and confidence that are visibly present even today. In fact, she had confidently stated to The Hindu over the phone during her ICAS training period in Faridabad that she remained quietly confident about getting selected for the IAS since there were 85 vacancies for IAS officers in the general category for the year in question. Also, she stated that she was the first professional nurse to gain selection as far as she knew. 

Annies started working and preparing for the IAS examination post passing out from Medical College. She was initially unaware that Civil Service examinations could be taken after obtaining a degree in nursing. After a 4-year B.Sc and an internship of a year, she trained at the Kerala Civil Service Academy at Thiruvananthapuram. Her younger sister is currently pursuing her M.Sc in Nursing at Belgaum in Karnataka. Leela, her mother, has already gone on record to state that Annies was always a hard worker and highly ambitious. She stated that her daughter did not have any suitable role model in either her family or the family of her husband. The proud mother emphasized upon the staggering nature of her daughter’s achievement while talking about how she is a self-made success story. 

Annies is today an inspiration and heartwarming icon for innumerable nurses from Kerala who carry out their duties throughout the world including remote corners of Africa. Nurses in Kerala are reputed for their high standards of professionalism, skill-sets and competence across the United States and Europe as well. Annies has not just been feted by the Government and local authorities; she has won the love, admiration and respect of not just the nursing community but thousands of women throughout India who are ambitious, competent and determined to carve their own niche in a highly competitive world. 

More power to her! 

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