As a part of the movement to acknowledge healthcare workers, we are featuring healthcare workers from the Ismaili community in a series entitled Healthcare Heroes. Read more about our next featured Hero, Shamsah Malik, who is a nurse on the designated Covid team at the hospital where she works.

Raised in Islamabad, Pakistan, Shamsah Malik’s inspiration to become a nurse followed Mawlana Hazar Imam’s speech at an Aga Khan University Hospital inauguration, where he talked about the impact of young girls choosing nursing as a profession. Despite her family’s encouragement to pursue medicine, Shamsah’s heart was in nursing. She could see the impact of the holistic, comprehensive, integrated aspect of caring for people and populations by changing behaviour, affecting/impacting social determinants, and inspiring throughout the continuum of life.

Her passion for nursing has now brought her to the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis, where as an acute care nurse practitioner at Harbor UCLA Medical Center in Southern LA, Shamsah is part of the internal medicine hospitalist team; the designated Covid team in the hospital. Daily, her team manages patients who are admitted to the hospital with Covid-19 infections. Like many in healthcare, the last few weeks have been especially rough for Shamsah. Seeing patients get sick, and worsen quickly has been challenging. Aside from the physical toll of working with these patients, she also takes on the emotional angst of managing end-of-life discussions with critically ill patients, especially when they are unable to see their families and loved ones.

But, Shamsah knows that these trials will make her a stronger professional. And, once her work day finishes, she becomes focussed on managing her duties as the Chairman for ITREB-West, managing the needs of 16 Jamatkhanas in the region.

“Stay at home, stay well. Eat healthy, sleep well, take care of your immunity, connect with your social support systems regularly to support your emotional and mental wellbeing. We all want the Jamat to remain healthy. Also, be aware of the signs, and seek help early if you experience symptoms such as shortness of breath or fevers.”