SCHOOL OF NURSING AND MIDWIFERY                                                                            
 October 2019





Dean’s 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.


Without further 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.


Kind regards,










Raising 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.


And 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.


More >>










Towards 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.







Partnering 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.






Collaborating 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 province.


More >>










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.


More >>






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.


More >>







Creating a 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.

Initiatives like 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 keynote speaker.







Laying the 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 exercise.


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 Medical College.












Lubna Ghazal
GNLI 2019


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
Women 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 August.


This is strongly backed by the WHO, ICN, and the Nursing Now global movement, and is a great honour. Well done, Laila!







Shaista Meghani

Thesis Publication


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.










Shireen Shehzad | Promoting mental wellbeing among women

in Pakistan


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.

Please write to us at sonam.pk@aku.edu