Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery (AKU-SONAM) graduate and former senior instructor Shaista Meghani joins Sujjawal Ahmad in conversation as she receives the 2022 AbSPORU Graduate Studentship in Patient-Oriented Research at the University of Alberta, Canada.
Sujjawal Ahmad (SA): Tell us a bit about yourself and what your background is.
Shaista Meghani (SM): Hello my name is Shaista Meghani, and currently, I am pursuing my Ph.D. from the University of Alberta Faculty of Nursing in Canada, I began my career in nursing 21 years ago at the Aga Khan University School of Nursing (AKU-SONAM) in Karachi, Pakistan where I also received my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Nursing. At AKU I have served in various capacities critical care nurse, head nurse, clinical nurse specialist, senior instructor, and academic lead of the undergraduate BScN program.
SA: Your inspiration for pursuing a research career in Nursing?
SM: I became motivated to pursue research in the areas of critical care nursing, patient-family-centered care approaches, issues of inter-professional collaboration, patient-family rights, and ethical aspects of critical care.
While working as a critical care nurse specialist for many years at Aga Khan University Hospital, I noticed that hospitalization in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) can have a long-term physiological and psychological impact, affecting functional recovery and quality of life of patients after ICU discharge. No established approaches exist for the alleviation of post-ICU sequelae. Therefore, my aim is to improve post-ICU patients’ well-being and outcomes by informing practices and policies that address patients’ psychological, physical, and cognitive outcomes and strengthen their rehabilitation, especially in the post-ICU phase.
SA: How did you prepare for starting a career in Nursing?
SM: So my inspiration for professional development and career advancement throughout the years essentially comes from Mawlana Hazar Imam’s vision for nurses and the role they play as, as he noted at the inauguration ceremony of the AKU-SONAM, “the honorable task of caring for the sick”.
SA: Tell us about your experience at AKU-SONAM.
SM: AKU-SONAM has shaped me personally and professionally. Studying and working in an institution has always been a pride that is a trailblazer in the country for the nursing profession and simultaneously recognized for providing the best learning opportunities based on international standards.
Working as a senior instructor and academic lead of an undergraduate program gave me an opportunity to design a nursing curriculum and teach simulation-based critical care nursing courses to equip novice nurses and nursing students with critical care expertise, to address critically ill patient’s needs, and to prepare them for challenges while working in intensive and high-tech areas.
I feel so blessed to have received my education through the Aga Khan institutions, as they have equipped me with sound clinical and technical knowledge and leadership and management skills to become the healthcare provider, researcher, and advocate that I am today.
SA: Tell us about the recent scholarship that you have received from the University of Alberta, how will it help you to shape your goals?
SM: I am delighted and honored to receive the AbSPORU Graduate Studentship in Patient-Oriented Research award. The award will significantly contribute to my Ph.D. research program that aims to focus on developing supportive non-pharmacological interventions to prevent post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression among post-ICU survivors and promote their health and wellbeing.
SA: Your advice for women who want to build careers in Nursing in Pakistan?
SM: Nurses are the heart and the backbone of healthcare. They are the true role models of women’s empowerment and change agents within our society. Nurses are not only working at the bedside but also raised as an educator, scholars, researchers, managers, policy makers, and an advocator in the healthcare industry.
About Shaista Meghani
Shaista Meghani is a Ph.D. Student of the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta, Canada. She has been a faculty member and academic lead of the undergraduate program at the Aga Khan University School of Nursing & Midwifery (AKUSONAM), Pakistan. She has extensive clinical and teaching experience in critical care nursing and worked as a Cardiothoracic Nurse Specialist and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) Instructor at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Pakistan. Shaista has presented multiple research papers and published them in numerous peer-reviewed journals. She has received several awards for her outstanding academic and volunteering work. Her research interests combine basic science with the nursing management of critically ill patients, issues of inter-professional collaboration, patient-family rights, and ethical aspects of critical care.