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Celebrating Inspirational Women Series 2022: Dr. Zuneera Khurshid

Thursday, 17 November, 2022

News Item Celebrating Inspirational Women Series 2022: Dr. Zuneera Khurshid

Please join us in celebrating International Women's Day 2022 with a series titled "Inspirational Women". Seventh in this series is an interview with Dr. Zuneera Khurshid.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background. 

I am originally from Pakistan and worked in the accounting and finance sector for many years until I decided to change my career and move into research. I decided to explore my interest in improvement science and moved to Ireland for my Ph.D. in 2018, focusing on the Irish health system. I have recently completed my degree and currently working in the Improvement Academy in the NHS.

What are your goals for this year?

My personal and professional goals for this year are interlinked. As an early career researcher starting a new job, my goal is to explore different research opportunities and projects to discover what I find more meaningful as a researcher. I intend to continue learning and disseminating about applied research in healthcare. On a personal level, moving to a new country can be daunting and my goal is to allow myself time to settle in and make new connections.

Why do you think it is important to have female role models?

When I started my Ph.D. I didn’t know any females in my family or friends who had completed a Ph.D. abroad. The most frequently asked question was how you would manage in a strange country, alone, being a female. I felt this to be quite disempowering and having a female role model would have been quite motivating at that stage. Having female role models can demonstrate that it has been done before and can help overcome doubts.

Is there a woman during your career that has inspired you?

I have been fortunate to have known various inspiring women throughout my research career. Both my supervisors, Professor Eilish McAuliffe and Dr. Aoife De Brún are established and successful researchers who empowered, supported and inspired me to do my best. Similarly, during my research with the Irish Health Service Executive, I have been fortunate to have known various inspiring women, especially Dr. Jennifer Martin and Dr. Gemma Moore, who trusted, guided and supported me throughout the Ph.D. journey.  

If you could wind back the clock, what advice would you give to your younger self?

I would advise my younger self to be more inquisitive and choose a career that helps me challenge myself every day. Travel more and be willing to try different things. Disappointments and failures are part of the journey, you learn something even when you fail as long as you are willing to take in the

Why do you think you were asked to participate in this series?

I think I have been asked to participate in this series so that my story can inspire others. It shows how you could be working in a completely different setting; you can always switch to a new career and life path if you are motivated enough. I hope it will also show how being resilient can help you get far in your personal and professional life.

Do you have any parting words of wisdom for the next generation of female nurses, midwives and healthcare professionals?

What I have learned so far is the most important aspect in healthcare research is being person-centric. This does not require any formal programme or intervention, we can all be more person-centric in what we do, and being more compassionate, kind and empathetic in the process of care delivery will have a huge impact on care outcomes.

Contact the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems

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