In the spring of 2018, 12 nursing interns enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) programme at the Aga Khan University (AKU) completed a three-month rotation at the Aga Khan Medical Centre in Gilgit (AKMC,G). The nursing and midwifery staff at AKMC,G supported the interns during their rotations by providing supervision for emergency care, obstetrics and gynaecology, and paediatric inpatient cases. The interns were also exposed to the High Dependency Unit and operating rooms.
Iqra Navroz, one of the 12 interns, was interviewed about her experience. Here are some reflections she shared with the Aga Khan Health Services in Pakistan.
My name is Iqra Navroz and I am a nurse by profession. I live in Karachi and work at the Aga Khan University, Hospital as a nurse intern in Internal Medicine Services. I completed my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) from Aga Khan University (AKU) in 2017.
Getting an opportunity to work at the Aga Khan Medical Centre in Gilgit (AKMC,G), a secondary care health facility in a far-flung area of Pakistan for three months with seasoned health professionals and some of the best medical facilities in the region was an interesting prospect for me. I went with preconceived opinions of staff at AKMC,G and patients visiting the facility, but I was soon to find out that the facts were contrary to my thinking. Not only were the health professionals highly skilled and experienced, most of the patients visiting the facility were educated and well informed.
I found that international health standards were followed at AKMC,G and all healthcare personnel that I encountered there, whether a healthcare assistant, a lady health visitor, a technician, a doctor or a registered nurse, were highly skilled in their roles.
Rotating between different specialised areas with interdisciplinary teams was an excellent learning opportunity. Working in the operation theatre was an amazing experience because I saw how several specialties were accessible and affordable for the local community and communities of nearby areas. Laparoscopic and supine surgeries, orthopedic procedures, and obstetrics and gynaecology emergencies were all handled expertly.
Overall, the rotation at AKMC,G had a great impact on my personal and professional growth. Moving from a tertiary healthcare setting with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities to a relatively remote area with its inherent limitations was a very useful learning experience. Managing patients from different sociocultural backgrounds who spoke different languages, some of which I heard for the first time, was a bit tricky and challenging, but a great professional learning experience. Moving and staying away from home in a cold climate with limited technology was not always easy, but it was a humbling experience that I think helped me grow as a person as well.
I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize the importance of continuing education for staff to help keep their knowledge about current practices updated. I would also like to thank AKU for giving me the chance to work in such a great secondary care health facility located in a beautiful region of Pakistan, and the caring and friendly staff at AKMC,G – from housekeeping to senior management – who helped make my journey a memorable one.