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Sharp Health News

The ‘aha moment’ that became a career

May 9, 2018

The ‘aha moment’ that became a career

Sharp Grossmont nurse Shehnaz Sial

We call them “aha moments” — those times of clarity when you recognize that something life-changing just sent you down the right path.

For Sharp Grossmont Hospital nurse Shehnaz Sial, that moment came after the birth of her daughter in 2010. Her baby was sick, and spent 12 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

“At that time, I was figuring out my career,” says Sial, an RN and now part of Sharp Grossmont’s New Grad Program. “The way the nurses took care of my daughter, without hesitation or asking me for information, inspired me,” says Sial.

She had planned to study pharmacy, but soon realized it wasn’t a good fit for her. “Those nurses touched my heart at that time, and it spoke to my own personality. I realized I, too, wanted to be around people, helping them throughout the day.”

In her native Pakistan, she remembers nursing being misunderstood within the culture — conjuring up visions of changing bedpans and delivering meals — and not always associated with the vast clinical knowledge, interpersonal aptitude and medical skills that nurses bring to the table. After coming to the U.S., she learned more of what it really means to be a nurse, and began her education.

She spent two years as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) with Sharp, and says she knew this was where she wanted to remain as an RN. “I felt so welcomed,” says Sial. “Coming from a different culture and not always being able to speak perfect English was OK, and I feel very valued here. Experiencing the culture of treating the person, and not just the condition, I realized I wanted to be with Sharp.”

Sial has plans to one day become a nurse practitioner, and is a passionate spokesperson for the nursing profession to her children and extended family.

The hospital recently received a thank-you letter from a patient’s mother, praising Sial, and sharing a story that remarkably mirrored Sial’s own experience:

“She provided my son with exceptional care. As a parent, you hate having them in the hospital with strangers, but Shehnaz was more like family. She really cares about the human being she is taking care of. I was so at ease knowing he was under her professional wings! She explained and answered all our questions. I’m very glad she’s a nurse at Sharp Grossmont, and will continue to pray that many others come and get the same heavenly care.” — A loving mom

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