Mrs. Nisab Aktar, 74 years of age, obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Nursing from Punjab University, Pakistan, and furthered her education in The United States of America in the fields of Public Health Nursing, Specialty Nursing in Management and Administration, and Family Planning. She has received a license to practice nursing and midwifery career in both Pakistan and England. The last position she hold in the governmental sector before her retirement was a Chief Director of Nursing which is equivalent to the position of Director-General. After retirement, Mrs. Nisab Aktar was invited by Fatima Memorial Hospital which is a private hospital with 500 beds to service patients, to be a Director in Nursing with responsibility in nursing services and education.
During the past 50 years, Mrs. Nisab Aktar has actively engaged herself in the roles associated with the development and improvement of nursing in areas of education and quality/standard of services in Pakistan. In addition, she has also played an important part in mitigating the problems concerning the shortage of nursing staff in Pakistan, and in reducing death rate of mother and child in childbearing. Her successes have been widely recognized.
Mrs. Nisab Aktar started her nursing career as a staff nurse in critical nursing care ward and in operating rooms at Lahore Hospital. She was highly regarded as a person of hardworking and good judgment in problem solving. As a result, she was selected to continue her education in the field of teaching and ward administration at College of Nursing, Karachi. After completion, she was given a job position as a nursing educator at Mayo Hospital where she devoted all her efforts in teaching and training new nurses, working closely with her nurse students, and setting herself as a role model for trained nurses. Later she was promoted to be a Chief Nursing Superintendent responsible for nursing services and education provided by Mayo hospital which, at that time, was the largest hospital in Pakistan. She devoted her competence to expand the number of wards to solve the problem of patient congestion and improve all aspects of nursing services to a large extent that Mayo Hospital has been well-known and recognized for rendering high quality nursing care and services as to be a good model for other medical service institutes to follow.
Pakistan suffered the severe shortage of nursing staff for a long time. When Pakistan first became an independent nation from India in the year 1947, a large number of nurses moved to India, resulting in an inadequacy of nurses in Pakistan. Mrs. Nisab Aktar engaged herself in a nurse career in the year 1949. During that time, as the country faced great difficulties, nurses had to work very hard with the limitation of manpower, facilities, equipment and tools. Mrs. Nisab Aktar initiated a new practice of nurses allocation in which teams of skill-mixed nurses were trained to provide patient care. Owing to her initiative, the hospital improved its performance and efficiency and was able to provide medical care despite the limitation of staff.
Mrs. Nisab Aktar was promoted to be a Chief Director of Nursing which was a newly established position equivalent to a Director-General with a responsibility in nursing administration and education under the public sector. She remained in this position until her retirement. While being in the position, she was successful in establishing several new nursing schools to meet high demand of nursing staff in the country, improving the quality of nursing educational institutions by arranging intensive courses to train nursing teachers and upgrading facilities, equipment and tools used in nursing education, as well as providing funds and scholarship to nurses who would like to further their education, and opening courses with curriculum extending from those of the preliminary level of nursing education so that nurses and administrators are able to advance their knowledge and skills in rendering the patient care. She also raised the level of nursing education in the country by establishing a Bachelor’ s degree in 5 public nursing colleges which at present are offering up to a Master’s degree. For the betterment of nursing service quality, she set in motion 14 new specialized nursing curriculums in 6 nursing schools to improve skills of nurses. These specialized fields included cardiac care, intensive unit care, pediatrics, and others.
In order to reduce the maternal and child death rate in childbirth, Mrs. Nisab Aktar introduced “community midwife” job positions in rural areas all over the country so that people and pregnant women in rural regions can have access to the proper medical services, including prenatal care and child delivery. She also started specialized courses in midwifery offered at nursing colleges in Islamabad and Karachi.
As shortage of nursing staff has been a severe problem of the country, nurses have to work hard in an improper environment. Mrs. Nisab Aktar has put her efforts to improve working environment, including facilities, equipment and tools, as well as introducing, countrywide, job descriptions for nurses who practice in different fields for the benefit of both nursing service provider and taker. To enhance nurses’ morale and incentive, Mrs. Nisab Aktar increased the nurses’ salary base and established a proper package of fringe benefits for nurses. She was successful in level up the nurse position to BPS-16 and 17 as announced in the Pakistan Prime Minister Order.
Mrs. Nisab Aktar has been a role model for all nurses in Pakistan. Founding a Pakistan Nurses Association, she acted as a Secretary General of the association for 6 years and became a president of the same association for 20 years. She was also the president of Pakistan Nurses Association, Bahawalper and Lahore branches. Owing to her outstanding performance, knowledge, and competence, Mrs. Nisab Aktar was selected to act as a Secretary General of Pakistan Nurses Federation from the year 1988 to present.
Due to her awareness in sacrifice and social responsibility, Mrs. Nisab Aktar has continually engaged in voluntary work at Pakistan Red Cross since starting her nursing and midwifery career. In the natural disaster incident of earthquake happened recently in Pakistan, Mrs. Nisab Aktar was able to organize nursing aid to reach and help victims within 48 hours. In 1993, International committee of Red Cross Geneva in recognition of her long association with the organization as a devoted nurse awarded her Florence Nightingale Medal.
After retiring from her post in the governmental sector, Mrs. Nisab Aktar was invited by Fatima Memorial Hospital which is a private hospital with 500 beds to service patients, to be a Director in Nursing with responsibility in nursing services and education, and still remaining in the position. Mrs. Nisab Aktar has managed and administered, with a success, to improve the quality of hospital services, establish new wards, and restore the original nursing school to be a nursing college offering a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. This is the first private educational institute becoming a nursing college in Pakistan. At present, Fatima Memorial Hospital is well known and recognized as one of the choicest hospitals in Lahore.
Mrs. Nisab Aktar was awarded Pride of Performance medal which is the highest award in profession given by the government of Pakistan, for recognition of her outstanding and devotion in the profession and social wellness. Moreover, the International Council of Nurses awarded her an Outstanding Professional Achievements and Awarded Certificate.
Mrs. Nisab Aktar has brought tremendous advancement and development to the profession of nursing in Pakistan in areas of education, administration, and career practices. In the difficult circumstances of the country, her sacrifice and contribution has greatly and positively affected the quality of nursing services and solved the national problem of nursing staff shortage, resulting in the recognition of her performance acceptable not only in the country but in the international arena also. The Foundation Committee of the Princess Srinagarinda Award under the Royal Patronage, therefore, has come to a final resolution to award Mrs. Nisab Aktar the Princess Srinagarinda Award of the year 2007.