Nursing – A way of Life

Patricia Khan brings compassion, comfort and a sense of hope in the lives of people who are not well. 

A nurse by profession, Khan set on a journey to care for others inspired by her mother who was a Senior Nurse. 

Khan’s life wasn’t easy as her father had passed away when she was nine years old. She however proudly admits the void was never felt as her mother proficiently took on the role as the ‘head’ of the house.

“We did have some tough times when I was growing up but my mum always ensured that we were able to overcome all the challenges. She is an amazing woman and my role model,” said Khan with a genuine sense of appreciation.

Khan grew up in Nasinu, Fiji with her mother and sister. Her mother, Florence Narayan now a retired nurse, used to wake up at dawn each day to cook and complete the household chores before departing for work.

“My mother always told my sister and I that there was no substitute for hard work and that if we are going to become someone in life, putting in the extra effort into whatever we do would pay off at the end of the day,” said Khan.

“We were a close knit family. My elder sister would look after me when my mum was at work. I remember our close relatives would also come visit us frequently to give us support. We had lots of fun even though there were challenges but that is how life is and we have to keep a positive mind towards things.”

After completing her primary school education at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial (MGM) Primary School, Khan attended MGM High School. 

Being in the medical field was always Khan’s passion and it didn’t come as a surprise when she enrolled at the Fiji School of Nursing (FSN), now College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS).

“Seeing my mum work at the hospital made me realise that being a nurse is not just a profession but rather a way of life. Being a nurse means giving your time to others and caring for them with passion. I really had to give it a long and hard thought if I could give this level of commitment to this profession. I truly believe that if passion is missing, one can never be a good nurse,” adds Khan.

Driven with the desire to serve others, she left home at the age of 18 to pursue her dreams at FSN. Being a Suva girl, she had never stayed away from home; therefore, staying at the hostel in Tamavua meant she had to adjust herself to the new environment.

“University life is different, it is challenging but it shapes us to be independent and fight our own battles,” says Khan.

Speaking about her university days, Khan says her most fond memories were of her late night group studies which also strengthened the group friendships. She also remembers taking part in social events which she adds was fun and provided the opportunity to make new friends as well as learn about other cultures.

So, with a clear vision, Khan was determined to overcome her challenges to achieve her goals.

Graduating in 2003, Khan’s first posting was at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH) in Suva. Over the years she developed an interest in maternal history which ranged from pregnancy to raising a family. With this in mind Khan set-out to further her studies with the Fiji National University. She enrolled in Post Graduate Diploma in Midwifery in 2012 and graduated the following year with a Gold Medal for attaining the Highest Aggregate Mark and Academic Excellence.

Khan is now a registered Midwife at CWM’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). She is also the Acting Nurse Unit Manager. Working in a highly charged environment, Khan leads her team with passion and encourages staff to share their experience which assists younger team members.

“We all have to have a positive attitude towards work. You have to show humility and compassion towards patient care,” said Khan.

Apart from her senior role at CWM, Khan is also the midwifery rep on the Fiji Nursing Council.

Khan is married with a son and lives with her husband and mother. She admits life is challenging at times but she’s able to balance her work and personal time well. Khan says good family support assists her with accomplishing her duties. During her spare time Khan loves to read, bake, travel and spend time with her son.

Khan says her life is guided by a quote from Shiv Khera, “Your positive action combined with positive thinking results in success”.

As part of her future plans, Khan aims to pursue Masters in Midwifery and grow in her nursing career. Khan’s advice to future nurses is to have a positive mindset, be dedicated in their schoolwork, humble and most importantly have compassion.