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Part I: Graduate Reflects on Influence of Nursing

Me and Ninama

Bimala, pictured above with her daughter Ninama, is one of the first graduates of IUBAT’s College of Nursing (you may read about that here). She has been featured extensively in our blog, but she writes us again to share her preconceived notions of nursing and the impact of her training on her life, even long after she completed the program.  She shares how her perspective of nursing has evolved over the course of her schooling and how it continues to shape her experiences.

She writes: “When I had to choose a Bachelor’s degree program for my career, I chose nursing for two reasons: 1) The ever increasing demand for nurses and 2) Good salary for qualified nurses in developed countries. That would take me away from my meddling family for sure!  Hence, I chose the College of Nursing at IUBAT, Bangladesh, which was far away from family. It did not go as I planned but I am glad it is that way. Why? I’ll tell you.

My ideas about nurses and nursing took a complete 180 degree turn while at IUBAT. I used to think nurses carried out doctors’ orders: gave medications and maybe dress a wound sometimes. These notions were built up from my observations while visiting family members at hospitals in Nepal. However, through my nursing education in IUBAT, I learned that a nurse is supposed to be responsible and accountable for providing compassionate care to his/her client through a holistic approach, which integrates not just physical but social, psychological, and spiritual aspects that are interconnected and affect an individual as a whole. I learned that a nurse is a linchpin between patients and the rest of his/her multidisciplinary team, that a nurse is the patients’ advocate. I learned that nurses were highly respected professionals, not because of the salary they were paid, but because of the important roles and responsibilities they carried out in patient care (although, hence the salary!).  The IUBAT instructors were true role models for nurse professionals. They were kind, caring, respectful, and always trying to help improve the patient care of the health care facilities. They were also encouraging us, the students, to be the catalyst for a better nursing care practice. As I learned more about nursing, I became aware of the greater role of nurses in patient care and the wider scope of their practice. I then truly started to respect the nursing profession and was proud to call myself a nurse.

Aware of the true potential of a nurse, I came to understand that there is a greater need of professional nurses in countries like mine. I immediately realized that there was a big difference between IUBAT teachings and actual nursing care practices in most of the healthcare facilities of Nepal and Bangladesh.  It also became clear that the nominal and substandard roles of nurses and their scope of practices in these countries were a direct result of poor nursing regulations and education. This realization was life changing to me. I became more interested in improving the nursing care and healthcare standard of countries like mine and Bangladesh instead of working in developed countries. It has become my goal to help Nepal, and if possible, other similar countries, attain a health care system that provides quality healthcare to its citizens regardless of their race, gender, and social or financial status.  

Apart from finding my goal, the skills, knowledge and attitude that I obtained from the IUBAT Nursing Program has saved me from possible obstetric abuse during an important phase of my life – my childbirth. Through the program I have become passionate about advocating for the patients’ right to quality healthcare. The program taught me to become assertive, a critical thinker, and a lifelong learner of good health care practice. Because of these traits, I was able to research current practices around childbirth cases like mine and was empowered to humbly question practices of the doctors/nurses caring for me. I had the confidence to stand up against their professional misconduct and deny their intervention. I was also able to seek the right professionals and place for my childbirth. Because I had become a strong nurse (thanks to IUBAT’s Nursing Program!) I was able to give birth to a wonderful baby girl and experience a wonderful childbirth.”

We are grateful that you shared this lovely narrative for our readers and glad that you were able to give some insight as to how the program was transformative in a variety of ways.  Please stay tuned for the next post, wherein Bimala uses her personal and professional experiences to craft a presentation for healthcare professionals and industry experts.

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