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Alumna Sarah Walji advocates for nursing on a global level

Aug 13, 2019
Guylaine Spencer

Sarah Walji

Photo above: Sarah Walji at the ICN Congress in Singapore (taken by the ICN)

As an active advocate for the nursing profession, Sarah Walji has been “on the move” since graduating from the BScN program at McMaster in 2017.

In just the past couple of months, Walji has travelled to several parts of the globe. She participated in the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland and spoke at the following events: the Public Health Conference in Liverpool, England; the EJLA (European Junior Leadership Academy) Summit for Nursing Student Leaders in Nottingham, England; and the International Council of Nurses Congress in Singapore.

She was also part of the launch of Nursing Now Canada in Vancouver in June. “Nursing Now is a global advocacy campaign focussed on elevating the status of nurses as well as the profession of nursing,” says Walji. “It’s establishing a name for itself. I am a presently a board member for the global campaign Nursing Now and I bring to the table different perspectives from the youth agenda, coupled with experiences I have had within the field of global health especially as an early career professional and young nurse. Based on that, I was asked by the Canadian Nurses Association to speak at the launch. I shared some of my journey, the experiences of young nurses within the profession, the concept of lateral bullying, and shared power. I also touched upon career opportunities and how, as an entry level nurse, branching into areas such as governance, policy, business etc. could further our nursing voices, allowing us to be advocates in a multitude of settings. It is for this reason that I decided to do an interdisciplinary Masters degree in Global Health at McMaster.”

In addition to her study and advocacy work, Walji works as a nurse in acute mental health at Halton Healthcare. Juggling a busy schedule, she says that every day is an adventure. Studying and work and advocacy all go together. “It’s a good opportunity to enhance your skills when you’re working with patients.  It provides application and experience to validate the theory of the Masters degree.” Both of these give her the foundation and ability to bring her voice to the table as an advocate for the profession of nursing.

During her studies in the BScN program, Walji was inspired by her professors. “Tracey Jewiss has been encouraging of my interests from my days as an undergraduate student and continues to be a huge support,” she says. “Peter Helli and Terry McCurdy were hugely supportive and welcoming during my undergrad. They also allowed me to explore beyond nursing. Olive Wahoush has been and continues to be an inspiration, as well as a phenomenal support. She is one amazing nurse, who has made such an impact pursuing her passion and interests.”

Walji notes that her nursing path has been (and will continue to be) unconventional. “It has provided me with the ability to demonstrate how uniquely one can shape their career at any stage. I hope this inspires students and fellow nurse colleagues to explore the atypical, think outside the box and follow their passions. After all, who knows where an adventure will lead.” 


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