Samina Vertejee, an assistant professor at the Aga Khan University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery (AKUSONAM), paved the way for many nurses during her professional journey as a public health nurse. For this, and many other reasons, she recently appeared on the World Health Organization’s list of 100 Outstanding Nurses and Midwives.

Academically, she received a Master’s degree in Health Management from the University of Wollongong, Australia, a bachelor’s degree in Nursing, as well as a Diploma in Midwifery and Nursing.

“Being counted as a nurse has always been a pride, not only because I wanted to be a nurse, but because I started my professional learning journey from an institution which is a trailblazer in the country for the nursing profession,” Samina said. “Moreover, having a strong belief [in the] Imam’s vision for uplifting the status of nursing also was a strong building block in paving my path to pursue and continue working as a nurse. If I was not Ismaili, I would not be a nurse today.”

The Aga Khan University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery has played an immense role in Samina’s life. The School changed the dynamic of nursing and made momentous strides in the establishment of nursing in the medical community in Pakistan.

“The recent pandemic is a great example whereby the nurses were on the forefront in all areas of practice; in addition, several nurses have also conducted research and published papers too. If it was three to four decades back, where nurses were not well trained, they would have probably failed to ensure evidence-based practice. Therefore, it is worth mentioning that the pandemic has also reinforced the importance of professional development through continuing education,” Samina said.

Mawlana Hazar Imam’s vision for nurses fueled Samina’s search for professional development and career advancement throughout the years.