A member of our first graduating class, Sushma Sapkota (previously mentioned here) has had quite a vocational journey since moving on from IUBAT. She has worked in a variety of settings and occupied a number of roles, but now, she has also added the title ‘published author’ to her resume. In her own words, she describes her career progress and how she came to write a textbook:
“After graduating with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing from IUBAT, I began working at an American super-specialty hospital in Uttara, Dhaka. While working, I was able to see the difference that nurses make and the smiles on patients’ faces, which made me realize that IUBAT taught us the skills in order to make those smiles happen. Soon after, I obtained my Master’s degree while working at Ayesha Memorial Hospital, a universal medical and nursing college. All of the standard practices that I learned from IUBAT, I applied to my everyday regimen at Ayesha Memorial Hospital. After completing my Master’s degree, I worked as a nursing supervisor at Sajida Foundation in Narayangong, Bangladesh, then came back to Nepal where I began working as a lecturer to BSc Nursing students, teaching Community Health Nursing, Nutrition and Dietetics, and some courses of Medical Surgical Nursing and Midwifery Part III (Postnatal).
Sushma, in the field with her students
After starting my career as lecturer, I realized that my education from IUBAT was similar to some best colleges of Nepal, however, at times, I felt like I was spoon feeding information to the students. It seemed like the teacher was doing more labour than the student. I was then promoted to work as the coordinator of the Nursing program for 1st and 2nd year students. I got a chance to learn more about leadership and management of students, and was even able to apply my leadership skills that I obtained from my own studies in Nursing Administration, part of the IUBAT Nursing Program. While working as a clinical supervisor, I often heard positive and encouraging feedback from the students that they wanted to emulate my style and skillset. Students were inspired by my class, teaching and clinical supervision style.
Nutrition Exhibition with Sushma and her students
In addition to working as coordinator of the 1st and 2nd year program, I also got the chance to work as the coordinator of the 2nd and 3rd year program. In the meantime, I also received my ‘Skilled Birth Attendant (SBA) training in Nepal. Most recently, I am working as coordinator of the 4th year Nursing students; I design the curriculum, rotation plans (especially clinical postings), weekly class schedules, prepare exams and end of year assessments, and schedule clinical rosters for the students. I also coordinate with the nursing chief, clinical supervisor, and hospital management team regarding clinical postings. As the 4th year coordinator, I am responsible with selecting research topics and supervising 3-4 students in their research.
My greatest achievement to date is publishing my nutrition text entitled, “Comprehensive Textbook of Food and Nutrition”. Preparing a book was challenging; I had to study many references to make it more credible and useful. A large number of books on food and nutrition are available in the market, but some had much irrelevant material, or were missing content, or contained content that was far too tailored to one university’s curriculum to be considered comprehensive. I have reviewed different national and international books, journals, reports, articles, guidelines, policies, strategies, and protocols related to food and nutrition in order to produce this text. The book has 13 units, written to meet the course requirements of the nursing programs of many different universities; however, it will also be helpful for students enrolled in similar areas of study such as Public Health, food technology and so on. I have tried to incorporate all essential areas of food and nutrition in this book to provide a complete understanding of the subject.
Producing a book requires coordinated effort, which no author can accomplish without the involvement of friends, relatives, colleagues, seniors and especially teachers. First of all, I want to thank God Almighty who made it possible to fulfill my vision of writing this book. I feel grateful to, and want to acknowledge, Dr. Karen Lund, Senior Advisor of Health Sciences (ex-nursing program chief of IUBAT), and Adjunct Professor Alex Berland, for their support, guidance and inspiring words for my book. They helped me tremendously in writing this text. They were even kind enough to send me examples of texts in Canada as reference.
It would be unfair if I didn’t acknowledge the professionalism and diligence of my nutrition teacher: Judi Morton at IUBAT, who taught me the nuances of this subject. My book delivers a comprehensive overview of nutrition, from introduction to food and nutrition, balanced diets, nutritional needs across the life span, to management of health and disease through therapeutic diets. It contains numerous figures and tables which illustrate key concepts and conditions as well as explain details about the national nutrition policy in Nepal.
Last but not the least, I am grateful to IUBAT, as my education gave me a platform to write a book, as well as develop my skills as a nurse and a person. I learned about plagiarism, which is a not a well-known concept amongst students of Nepal. As a result, many of the books in Nepal are just copy and paste, but knowing this and trying to avoid it, I was able to produce a nutrition text that could exist as a standard of reference in Nepal.”
Congratulations to Sushma on her monumental achievement and on her contributions to healthcare knowledge and education in Nepal. Publishing a textbook involves rigorous effort and is an extremely large undertaking. Excellent work, Sushma, and we can hardly wait to hear about your next project!