At the Bangladesh Health Project, we love hearing from our alumni and getting updates on their lives and careers. Sweta Sharma, one of the first graduates of the nursing program at IUBAT, has had quite the journey since she completed her BSc studies in 2009. Her success has been featured here and here, and now, Sweta explains her initial impressions of the program and how she is furthering her career progress in a new country:
“When I enrolled in BSc Nursing, I had only a vague idea of what nursing entailed and what the roles and responsibilities of a nurse were, as I was the first person out of my family and close relatives to choose nursing as a career. In addition, a BSc in Nursing was a new and emerging field at the time in Nepal and there were limited university offerings with very few seats. That is why I went to Dhaka, Bangladesh to pursue my career. I was excited about my journey, but at the same time I experienced the pain of leaving my family and friends, as the furthest distance I had ever travelled from home was 150 km, and Dhaka was 1000 km away! For a few days, it was hard for me to adjust in a new country with a new language, culture and food, but within a few days, things started to become normal.
My first year as a student nurse was standard for most nurses, in essence, I was excited about learning new things, but at the same time, I was scared about everything. I was usually consumed with such worries as, would I understand the theories of nursing? Would I cope on the wards? Would I be able to give my first IV? However, after being exposed to the clinical practicum and being able to perform the hands-on nursing tasks, I have had the pleasure of caring for clients. In every step of the learning process, the volunteer teachers always helped us, and their help was incredible. They taught us to provide standard nursing care, to have effective communication with clients and family, to keep a journal, to make presentations, to do scientific research, guided us in our clinical and community placements and gave us constructive feedback when necessary. Afterwards, I went back to Nepal and started working as a clinical nursing instructor to diploma and first-year BSc nursing students. After starting my career as an instructor, I started to realize that my education from IUBAT was equal to other nursing instructors. While working as an instructor, I often heard encouraging feedback from the students e.g. “Sweta was one of my best nursing instructors”, and “I want to be a nurse like Sweta in the future”.
After working almost 3 years in Nepal, I got a chance to pursue my Master’s degree in Emergency and Critical Care Nursing with an Erasmus Mundus Scholarship. During that period, I saw exactly what it was to be a nurse in a developed country. I was amazed to see their dedication towards their job, their level of knowledge, the respect they received, and the autonomy that they have. I then realized why the instruction was the way it was at IUBAT, and why the volunteer faculty were so detail-oriented.
After I obtained my Master’s, I came to Canada in June 2015 and I have started paperwork to become a registered nurse. In the meantime, I have been trying to learn new skills and utilize my existing skills with hope of gaining work experience in Canada. To assist with that, I have begun to volunteer at Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre, in Ottawa, Canada, as a community development and health promotion assistant, supporting PQCHC catchment area neighbourhoods with health promotion activities.
Finally, I want to say that none of us are perfect in our profession, as this profession offers us an opportunity to learn something new each day, as we touch new life every day, and with a positive attitude, we can make any experience a great and rewarding one. Also, I would like to thank all the nursing faculty members at IUBAT as well as the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship for all of my training and experiences.”
We appreciate your updates, Sweta, and thank you for sharing some words of wisdom, which may influence more nursing hopefuls to fulfil and pursue their dreams. Best of luck with your RN designation in Canada; you are one of the numerous success stories that have arisen out of IUBAT. You have already accomplished so much, and we anticipate more of the same in the future.