Two Aga Khan University (AKU) alumnae, Dr. Amina Huda and Salima Pirani, volunteered with AKU Karachi for two weeks in February and March this year. Many other AKU alumnae and alumni have also previously served as TKN volunteers with the University and the Hospital.
Dr. Huda is a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner and currently works at the Stanford University Hospital, Palo Alto. California. In addition, she serves on the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) faculty as an Assistant Adjunct Professor. She is also Chairman of the Aga Khan Health Board, Western United States.
Dr. Huda has thirty years of experience in various patient care areas, including liver transplantation and quality improvement. She began her career in 1987, as a medical surgical nurse, at the AKU Hospital (Karachi).  She then worked as a senior instructor at AKU’s School of Nursing before migrating to the United States.
Her impressive academic background includes a bachelor’s degree in nursing (honours) from AKU, a Master of Science in Nursing from the Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Program at UCSF, and a Ph.D. in Nursing and Health Policy from UCSF.
On this TKN assignment, Dr. Huda spent her first two days in patient care units to assess geriatric nursing practices compared to international standards. Her assessment entailed observation, examining policies and procedures, reviewing charts and records, and interviewing nursing team members and nursing leadership.  She then delivered a comprehensive training program which included classroom lectures, case studies and clinical rounds.
Dr. Huda’s full day competency-based workshops focused on geriatric nursing training to manage care of older adults within the acute care setting. Topics in her workshops included: changing demographic trends; the impact older adults have on acute care; sensory changes with aging; pain management in older adults; and, common types of iatrogenesis and the nurse’s role in preventing this in hospitalized patients. The workshop also covered the significance, assessment and nursing interventions of common geriatric syndromes including Delirium, falls, frailty and functional decline. In addition, she submitted a proposal outlining her recommendations for conducting daily interdisciplinary (IDT) rounds to improve patient outcomes.
Dr. Huda feels incredibly fortunate to have been given this TKN opportunity and says that she had an amazing experience on campus and with the nurses.
Salima Pirani graduated with a bachelor’s in nursing degree from AKU’s school of nursing. She started as a Staff Nurse at the AKU Hospital (Karachi) in 1987 and then as a Clinical Nurse Instructor. She subsequently migrated to Canada and later to the USA. Salima is grateful that AKU provided her with an excellent education, solidified her commitment to her profession, and shaped her into the leader she is today.
When Salima moved to the USA, her AKU education enabled her to confidently assume a leadership role as a hospital dialysis unit administrator. Salima had previously volunteered at the Aga Khan Hospitals in Dar-e-Salaam and Karachi to assist with their dialysis programs.  During her previous AKU visits, she was involved in the planning phase for the dialysis unit and educating nurses about holistic nursing care and improved standard operating procedures.
On her return to AKU this year as a TKN volunteer, Salima assessed progress made from her previous visits and was very impressed with the improvements. She also helped to develop and deliver a basic dialysis course to nurses in the dialysis units and to new nurses joining this specialty. Salima evaluated AKU’s dialysis-nursing practices against best practices, identified gaps and recommended actions to meet best practice standards. She also stressed the importance of sharing patient education materials, checklists, forms, order sets and protocols which can enhance current practices. Another key component was to connect senior dialysis nurses with relevant international forums and associations as members.
Salima says, “As a TKN volunteer, my experience has been remarkable because it fulfilled my dream to make a difference, especially when we are also celebrating the Diamond Jubilee.”
AKU is immensely grateful to both Dr. Huda and Salima for their exceptional TKN service in helping to strengthen nursing capacity and for continuing this exemplary tradition of so many AKU alumnae and alumni coming back to selflessly serve their alma mater.