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SONAM scholars set to begin PhDs

Jun 27, 2017

​Two assistant professors at the School of Nursing and Midwifery in Pakistan, Rozina Somani and Saleema Gulzar, have been accepted to prestigious PhD programmes in nursing in Canada and Australia.

Ms Somani and Ms Gulzar completed their bachelor’s and master’s education from the School and currently hold positions as faculty. 

As part of her PhD, Ms Somani, who has received a full scholarship from the University of Toronto, will be evaluating a variety of interventions aimed at tackling workplace violence against nurses in the health sector. 

During her master’s thesis, she explored this issue by assessing the magnitude of physical and psychological violence against nurses in four hospitals in Karachi. Her cross-sectional study of 458 nurses found that 82 per cent of nurses had experienced some form of bullying or abuse (physical, verbal or sexual). 

“Patients have very high expectations of nurses but unfortunately also have a very poor view of the profession. This is one of many reasons why nurses are often mistreated by attendants, patients and even their colleagues. Action needs to be at the level of those managing hospitals and the healthcare system to tackle this issue,” Ms Somani added.

Through her doctorate, Ms Somani will assess the most effective ways to ensure safety and gender equality in healthcare settings. She eventually hopes to advocate for policies that meet targets under goals 5 and 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals on the need for legal frameworks to prevent abuse and to ensure equality in all institutions. 

Ms Gulzar will be pursuing her doctorate at the University of Sydney after receiving a Faculty Development Award, a competitive award which funds higher education initiatives at the School. Her doctorate will be focused on health promotion in schools - a subject that’s been close to her heart ever since she began work as a school nurse and student counselor at a high school in Karachi fifteen years ago.

At the time, Ms Gulzar noticed how many health issues were never addressed as adolescents chose to keep their problems to themselves. In many cases, students and even their parents lacked awareness about common health concerns in the age group. This led to her introducing a curriculum to promote physical, social and mental health among students in order to encourage a healthy lifestyle. 

“Health and education share a close connection and schools provide a great platform to spread healthy practices among children, their peers and their families. So far I’ve been able to enact change in a school by advocating for student health in all activities at school and by working with management to ensure that there is always a nurse available at school. 

“Through my research I aim to explore the contribution of health education in schools towards building healthy habits in children,” she adds.

Ms Gulzar is grateful to SONAM staff and alumni such as Dr Yasmin Amarsi, Professor Rozina Karamaliani, Farida Allana (late), Dr Rozina Mistry and Laila Gulzar for their guidance and mentorship throughout her career. 

Ms Somani appreciated the role played by Professor Rozina Karmaliani, Professor Judith McFarlane, and Farida Pirani in her academic career. 

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