Dean’s Communiqué
















Edition 04 | October 2018






Dear Colleagues,


The School is humming with new energy and vigour after some very heartening events that took place in the last few months. Many would even say that it is now an exciting time for the nursing profession as global healthcare providers have come together to maximize the visibility of and access to nurses and midwives.


I am extremely excited to share these updates and welcome any suggestions or ideas our readers may have. Please read on.












Local Nursing Now body formed


In a first, Pakistan’s forum for Nursing Now was announced in August and we were invited to join the 15-member government body led by the Director General Health in Islamabad. This is a breakthrough for nursing in Pakistan as the forum intends to work with the global Nursing Now team as a unified Pakistani body and aims to raise the status and profile of the nursing and midwifery professions in Pakistan.


I am nominated as a nursing education representative and will have the opportunity to offer support and expertise in the improvement of academic, research and clinical initiatives pertaining to the profession across the country. I am thoroughly grateful to my colleagues at SONAM as well as the University in keeping the School’s initiatives at par. With SONAM having a seat on this government body as well as leading the Nursing Leaders’ Forum in Sindh, we are in the best position to make some great headway in influencing policy and change in the two professions.



















Partnering with midwifery experts 


Recently, my colleagues at SONAM brought together policymakers from the Sindh government and private sector experts at a seminar to discuss and explore steps to promote quality midwifery care in the country.


Following a very productive session with senior officials from the Health Services Sindh; Sindh Healthcare Commission; Pakistan Nursing Council; Midwifery Association of Pakistan; Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) programme; United Nations Population Fund; Johns Hopkins Program for International Education in Gynaecology and Obstetrics among others, we were invited by the DG Health Services to join the MNCH working group in Sindh and assess the education and training of practicing midwives as well as of the midwifery schools and their curriculum in the province.


Success in MLM shared care delivery model


I am thrilled to share with you that the AKUH Credentialing Committee has approved of our proposed Midwifery-Led Model (MLM) in a shared care setting that would allow midwives to take charge and offer quality midwifery services while working closely with obstetricians and gynaecologists.


Our colleagues, Dr Rubina Barolia and Shahnaz Shahid, along with SONAM’s MNCH and Midwifery clinical stream members had been working tirelessly on the mechanics of this model with the support of Dr Lumaan Sheikh and her team. I’d personally like to congratulate them on this major milestone and we look forward to this Model’s implementation in our secondary hospitals followed by its practice in AKUH.













Faculty initiatives


One of our assistant professors, Saleema Gulzar, organized a seminar on “Scaling eHealth: From Practice to Strategy” in Peshawar in the capacity of Joint Secretary, eHealth Association of Pakistan. The association works to implement and promote digital health programmes across the country.


Ms Gulzar had an opportunity to network with experts and thought leaders in the healthcare and IT industries as well as KPK government officials and policy makers. We are glad that she brings back new knowledge in this domain for our colleagues in the University.


Right to Play and AKU


Recently, Right To Play and the Aga Khan University disseminated findings of a three-year trial ‘What works to prevent violence against women and young girls?’ with the support from the UK’s Department for International Development and South African Medical Research Council.


Dr Rozina Karmaliani along with our colleagues Dr Tazeen S. Ali, Shireen Shahzad, Hussain Maqbool among others held multiple successful events in Islamabad and Hyderabad where they highlighted how Right to Play interventions are effective in reducing depression and violence and in contributing to social harmony.











Thorough curriculum review in progress


The curriculum review has progressed nicely in the last couple of months and we moved into a new phase in September. We will be having a SONAM retreat to revisit our vision, mission and goals as a school within AKU, and to look at the current healthcare context both locally and globally to revitalize our curriculum philosophy in the context of Pakistan’s burden of diseases and the global advances in nursing.


I shall be working with the chairs, Khairulnissa Ajani and Naghma Rizvi to engage a team of external advisors, in addition to the existing team, to rebuild it with the above in mind, our current faculty capacity, and the need to utilise innovative teaching strategies.


New and improved TNI curriculum launched


Dr Rubina Barolia, along with our six clinical stream heads, redesigned the curriculum for Trainee Nurse Interns (TNIs) that now encompasses 100 hours of integrating theory into practice using simulation-based activities, Virtual Learning Environment programmes, group sessions, etc. The initiative was preceded by a rigorous survey of our previous TNI batches to understand the need of our interns in terms of clinical knowledge and practice. 


I am glad to share that the first batch of this newly designed two-week training curriculum was successfully rolled out in June-July and was very well received by the TNIs. My congratulations to the team!


Faculty exploring new teaching development tool


SONAM faculty, under the leadership of assistant dean for teaching and learning, have introduced Teaching Squares methodology with an objective to reflect upon their content and pedagogy, suggest improvements and determine ways to carry them out.


We have just begun to create squares among the faculty members with mutually identified benchmarks to be achieved. We are hopeful that it would help our colleagues learn and borrow best teaching practices from each other as we move ahead with this initiative.











Clinical teaching and supervision


My colleagues in the Teaching & Learning and Clinical Practice teams continue to revisit clinical teaching practices and devise strategies to improve on them. The teams held successful workshops in August and collectively explored global best practices as well as locally feasible clinical teaching models to enhance clinical skills of our students. I hope that the new methodologies our colleagues are working on will turn out to be more effective and will contribute to an enhanced clinical experience for our students.


Building and strengthening our research capacity


SONAM’s Research office has long been working on building and strengthening research capacity of our faculty members through workshops, clinics and seminars. These consultation sessions are held every month by our PhD colleagues where they facilitate participants in the areas of research themes, grant submissions, research settings, protocol and manuscript writing, etc. I would like to congratulate Dr Tazeen S. Ali and her team on leading this very important initiative.



















Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2018


The School’s MNCH and Midwifery clinical stream in collaboration with the Public Health stream and the Rho Delta chapter conducted a successful Lactation Management workshop for SONAM students and our nurses and midwives working in AKUH and secondary hospitals. The workshop was organized to mark the World Breastfeeding Week celebrated from Aug 1 to 7 each year.


The stream focused on a very contemporary challenge of demystifying the common myths about the breastfeeding practice and I am happy that we were also joined by our colleagues in AKHS,P and East Africa.


SONAM also partnered with the Nutrition Support Program, Sindh during the week and participated in an awareness walk as well as an advocacy seminar where Ms Shahid spoke about midwifery research and policy implication in the country.













Students’ Initiatives


Our BScN Year III students from the paediatric group organized an exhibition of the paediatrics play therapy activities that they had developed for the patients. The energy displayed by the students in this initiative clearly outlined the importance of play activities in child health nursing. I congratulate the students and their faculty members for this excellent activity!


SONAM students have very recently formed a Synergy group. We are very appreciative of such initiatives and this one in particular as it aims to not merely bring students from all the nursing and midwifery programmes on one platform, but it will also give them a chance to collaborate and learn from each other and for the newly enrolled students to build better connection with the School and their senior colleagues.











I would welcome you all to read through a couple of our published studies.


My joint editorial on the mental health of asylum-seeking children published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Read Here...


Salima Farooq and Dr Jacqueline Maria Dias had their joint paper on “Comparison of undergraduate educational environment in medical and nursing program using the DREEM tool” published in the Nurse Education Today.

Read Here…




I am very excited to share that our colleague Zohra Kurji has recently passed the 2018 International Board Certified Lactation Consultant recertification examination for lactation consultants. It is a major milestone for the School as we move towards nurse-driven practice.


Also, please join me in congratulating Salima Farooq on becoming our first certified Youth Mental Health First Aid faculty. We hope to see her taking the lead in developing similar training programmes here in Karachi.


Congratulations to both!










Zero to Three Conference


SONAM has been working with Drs Shahirose Premji and Nicole Letourneau of the University of Calgary, and has been in discussions with their colleagues at the University of Washington regarding Dr Letourneau’s research study on Parent and Neonatal Mental Health. We have been shared some very relevant and important training conferences that focus on programmes aimed at children, from birth to three years, and their families. I would like to invite you all to have a look at them for more details.









We would be happy to receive your comments and feedback. Please write to us at sonam.pk@aku.edu