Oct. 29, 2019

Neurostudies nurse finds joy working with resilient young patients in treatment for rare disorders

50 Faces of Nursing: Nilufer Hasanova, BN’17

Nilly Hasanova does the important work of caring for children who have neuromuscular diseases as they receive treatment for rare illnesses. She believes in what she does, in the underlying “power of medical research,” and cherishes her days spent in the company of kids. “They are resilient and so positive and say and do the funniest things!”

An advocate of public health and preventative medicine, Hasanova also finds reward in her other role as a registered nurse (RN) with the Influenza and Rapid Response Team. She has devoted time in neuro rehab at the Foothills Medical Centre as well and will return to the Student Union Wellness Centre to work as an RN in the Post-Alcohol Support Space.

“My passion for harm reduction also drove me to support the PASS (Post-Alcohol Support Space) in residence at UCalgary. I love being a nurse as I can work in all areas that fulfill my passions.”

During her undergraduate degree, Hasanova earned a Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship, and participated in a three-month maternal health internship in hospitals and villages in and near Kampala, Uganda in partnership with the Aga Khan University. In 2017, she received the President’s Award for Excellence in Student Leadership.

What’s an unforgettable experience from your time at UCalgary Nursing?

“I was ever so thankful to receive the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship in partnership with Aga Khan University and to have the amazing opportunity to be an intern in Kampala, Uganda. This was an incredible learning opportunity.

“I loved having the opportunity to learn outside a regular classroom and met incredible friends and mentors with whom I am still in touch with to this day. It also taught me about cultural implications of health care. We worked mainly in maternity, and I saw how cultural ideologies impact everything, including birth practices.”

Nilufer Hasanova in Uganda.

Hasanova participated in a three-month maternal health internship in Uganda.

What most excites you about the future of nursing or changes coming in the profession?

The fact that it is so diverse and ever-growing. Nurses are care-givers, educators, researchers and more. I am very excited that we can now prescribe in certain cases and am even more excited to share that I am currently in the cohort of nurses receiving their RN Prescribing Certification! We get to learn every day and that, in itself, is such a privilege.”

Is there a nursing issue you are especially passionate about or would like to change?

“I think being a nurse allows you to see how everything in health care is done both behind the scenes and on the frontlines. I am very passionate about politics and how political decisions and policies affect our health-care practices. I would love to see more nurses and other frontline workers in politics — we could have so much to say!

“I am most passionate about policy changes that include a patient voice. Short staffing and the way finances are distributed in health care is something that requires a significant amount of change and I want to one day work in health policy to have a voice in that change.

“Nurse leadership is so important. We do great work, and we should have a say in that work. After all, we do it for our patients and they deserve to have nurses who will speak up for them and their rights!”

Do you have advice to share with aspiring nurses?

“Apply for that job! I have many nursing students message me about looking over their resumes and cover letters, and they are way more qualified for jobs than they give themselves credit for.

“Even if a job says five years of experience, even if it says 10 and you are interested — just apply. The worst you will hear is a ‘no' and, at the very least, you put yourself out there, and can even ask to shadow or sit down with these experienced nurses and managers to gain insight into how you can one day be in that field.”

All through 2019, we'll be highlighting 50 Faces of Nursing and profiling nursing members in celebration of our 50th anniversary. If you know someone noteworthy (faculty, staff, alum, students, partners, etc.) who you would like us to feature, tell us more with this short online form. For more, visit nursing.ucalgary.ca/50