Today Magazine Winter 2020 - Page 18

From MENTEE to MENTOR By: Kirsten Swanson Shakirah Sayfullah '15/'18 knows firsthand how important a strong support system is to a college student. While enrolled in Gwynedd Mercy University’s Associate of Science in Nursing Program, Shakirah relied on the on-campus resources to get her through the challenging courses. “I believe that GMercyU’s professors make a difference. They really show they care, especially when you’re struggling,” Shakirah said. “The Academic Resource Center also helped me when I was struggling.” She soon realized, however, that not all nursing students have that built-in support system, especially after they graduate and begin their careers. Shakirah was offered a nursing assistant position at Chestnut Hill Hospital while doing her clinicals with the promise of a nursing position once she passed her boards. After earning her ASN, Shakirah passed her boards on the first try and started working as a nurse on the Progressive Care Unit at Chestnut Hill Hospital. Shortly after, she enrolled in GMercyU’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. TODAY “I’ve always wanted to bring the Philadelphia nurses together. It was an all-woman event so we can empower and uplift each other. I decided to do it every year,” Shakirah said. “ I believe that GMercyU’s professors make a difference. They really show they care, especially when you’re struggling. ” It was during this time she began mentoring nursing students and building a community on social media. Shakirah also organized the First Annual Nurse Empowerment Brunch for female nurses and nursing students in May 2019. 16 The event featured guest speakers, panelists and an open discussion. In September 2019, Shakirah officially founded her Nursing Mentorship Network. In just a few months, the Network has grown to more than 15 mentees and five mentors. “I had a lot of nursing students coming to me and asking me questions, reaching out for help,” Shakirah said. “That’s why I started it. I felt as though I want to give back. I gathered a few experienced nurses and I put it out on social media.” Shakirah earned her BSN from GMercyU in 2018 and is now working in the Medical Surgical Unit at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Einstein Hospital. You can learn more about the Nursing Mentorship Network by following Shakirah on Instagram at @shak_bsn.