THE AGA KHAN
SCHOOL OF NURSING AND
Communiqué | Edition 08
Dear faculty, staff, alumni, students
and friends of SONAM!
As the academic
year 2019 draws to a close, there is a buzz around the pink marble corridors
and of course, the recent spell of monsoon rains had made the campus look all
the more beautiful. SONAM’s freshly rained-upon gardens were a sight to
enjoy. It is altogether a different energy around!
Across the al
fresco courtyard and one floor up, there is an entirely different buzz -
that of anticipation. The MScN students are in the process of presenting and
defending their theses. They have worked on topical, relevant, evidence-based
nursing clinical and educational issues. I am impressed with the quality of
research work done by the students and faculty supervisors and would request
my colleagues and all other students to be a part of these sessions and
benefit from this remarkably good output. Pakistan needs these people as
leaders in clinical practice, education and administrative roles, and we are
doing our bit for the future of healthcare.
ado, I’d like to invite you to read through this Communiqué edition. There is
a special feature on World Mental Health Day as well as a number of other
achievements that we have had in the past two months.
WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY
mental health awareness, need of the hour
At SONAM, we embrace mental health as a
central component of nursing education and care. We have a dedicated team of
experts in our Mental Health Clinical Stream that focuses on training our
young student nurses on skills to provide holistic mental healthcare to
patients and caregivers when they enter the profession, among other skills.
this doesn’t end here! Starting last year, we have conducted multiple
interactive sessions with faculty and staff alike to promote mental wellbeing
in the workplace. In line with these initiatives, our clinical stream
colleagues, in close collaboration with other University and Hospital
departments, ran various on-campus activities aimed at raising awareness
around mental health and suicide prevention to mark this year’s World Mental
Health Day. I congratulate our faculty members Humera Qutb and Salima Farooq
and other colleagues on their efforts to celebrate this important event.
I can’t stress enough how important mental wellbeing is! The saying ‘no health without mental health’ has now
been expanded to ‘no sustainable development without mental health’
for obvious reasons. I suggest my colleagues to read this outstanding Lancet
edition for more on this: Commission on
global mental health and sustainable development.
I also invite you
to watch this short video
that the School’s communications team has produced, working very closely with
various other colleagues and students, to address the challenges and issues
around mental health as well as ways to prevent one of the most tragic
results of mental disorders - suicide.
Launch of the
first-ever named scholarship fund
Last month, I was honored to represent
SONAM at a ceremony in which the Kanji family, so kindly, donated four BScN
scholarships, in the name of the late Dr Parveen Kanji to worthy candidates.
Two students will be interviewed and selected for entry in 2021, two more in
2023, then four each year in perpetuity. Such generosity and genuine desire
to promote nursing was humbling.
solid academic-clinical partnerships
I am very excited about the School’s
recent collaboration with the University Hospital. We have been deliberating
over forming an academic and service partnership for some time and now, this
is yet another feather in the cap that will help both the entities to develop
the professional role of nurses, and ensure quality nursing and midwifery
care and capacity development of the faculty members.
We had a small signing ceremony in
August where I was joined by Shagufta Hassan, Dean Dr Adil Haider and many of
our School and Hospital colleagues. I look forward to working with everybody
and together help develop the clinical competencies of our students enabling
them to graduate as competent nurses.
for student, faculty exchanges and more
I had an opportunity to work with
Shandong University in China and facilitate their MScN students on their
research publications. Furthering our quest to have some funded PhD students
and faculty exchanges, we have also signed an MoU with them that will open up
avenues for research collaborations, joint grants, capacity building and
human resource exchanges.
with Punjab’s healthcare department
In August, I met with a delegation
from the Government of Punjab’s Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education
department along with my colleagues. The team of experts came in for an
official visit to the School to study our academic model. We have developed a
collaboration with the team wherein our faculty will evaluate the quality of
nursing education in Punjab’s public sector institutions, and propose and
carry out interventions to raise the academic standards as well as to design
a continuous professional development programme for nurse educators in the
A new spot to
relax and study
And finally, the wait is over for
SONAM students! This vibrant space for our nursing students was reopened last
week after an incredible revamp. The newly renovated student lounge is one of
the many initiatives aimed at creating an even better and memorable campus
experience for our nursing students.
It was an absolute delight for me to
see the happy faces of our students in their new space and we hope to keep
working on such initiatives that add up to the overall student experience.
Congratulations and thanks to the University leadership, my colleagues in
ODOS and everybody else who was involved in this project.
Enhancing students’ community clinical experience
Recently, SONAM students successfully organised yet another
health awareness camp at the campus where they educated general public about
simple preventive measures they can take to protect themselves from tropical
and communicable diseases. I am extremely supportive of this idea, which is
part of the undergraduate curriculum for nursing as it strengthens their
community clinical skills as well as enhances their ability to make use of
low-cost resources while aiming for a bigger impact of educating communities
using some highly engaging activities.
Another important student-led
community project was carried out last month in which our students
participated in a street theatre performance on personal and environmental
care and hygiene and conducted awareness sessions in one of the communities.
culture of research among young nurses
In a first, our MScN students had organized Young Scholars’ Research
Exhibition in August facilitated by Dr Tazeen S. Ali. Master’s students from
across Sindh were invited and young nurses from SONAM, Dow University of
Health Sciences, Ziauddin University and Liaquat University of Medical and
Health Sciences presented their abstracts.
these help our students understand the importance of evidence-based practice
and research in nursing, and provide them with exciting opportunities to
network with fellow nurse researchers and engage in scholarly work.
A lot of great ideas and projects were shared during the event
that also featured a panel discussion on “Nursing in the Contemporary World”,
emphasising upon ways to improve patients safety and cost-effectiveness in
care. Sindh’s Director General Nursing Shabbir Hussain also joined us as a
right research foundation
Last month saw the inaugural SONAM Student Research Forum
session led by our faculty, Dr Laila Ladak. The forum, which began with our
students in medicine some years ago, has now become a collaborative joint
This one, in particular, is aimed at building the research
capacity of our undergraduate students guiding them through the research
process and helping them know the basics of conducting research. This is also
a great idea to forge links between students and faculty across SONAM and the
Our faculty Lubna Ghazal was at the International
Council of Nurses’ Global Nursing Leadership Institute 2019 (GNLI) programme
in Geneva last month.
What an honour to be selected amongst 30 of the
world’s leaders in nursing for leadership training! She has brought back some
great ideas for developing our outreach activities.
Dr Laila Ladak
in Global Health
Dr Laila Ladak from SONAM was invited to the Women
in Global Health Pakistan Chapter Launch. She was selected as one of the
"Top 100 women in Global Health in Pakistan - P2 impact" and will
contribute as a member of this Chapter. The launch was in Islamabad in
This is strongly backed by the WHO, ICN, and the
Nursing Now global movement, and is a great honour. Well done, Laila!
I am also pleased to share that our alumna and
faculty, Shaista Meghani recently had her MScN thesis manuscript published in
Connect: The World of Critical Care Nursing, a springer’s publishing company
and an official journal of the World Federation of Critical Care Nurses.
I invite you to please read through it here.
Shehzad | Promoting mental wellbeing among women
I would also like to highlight our
alumna and faculty Shireen Shehzad in this edition. She has worked
extensively in different communities within Pakistan to study the level of
depression and anxiety among women and to work out solutions to pressing issues
around mental health. As we dedicate this month to mental health awareness, I
am sure you’d be happy to learn more about her work in this short video.
We would be happy to
receive your comments and feedback.
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