Photo by Becca Sabot
Associate Professor, St. Catherine University
Family Nurse Practitioner, NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center
She began in business. “What a wrong move!” Bhimani says. “I really wasn’t driven by profit motive. But the minute I began as a nursing assistant, I was just there.”
Bhimani, who immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan and learned English as an adult, has since earned both a Ph.D. in nursing (research-based) and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (clinical practice-based), one of the first nurses in the state to do so. A typical day has her teaching and e-mailing nursing students, planning with colleagues, engaging in scholarly research, and, when she’s at the clinic, seeing patients every 20 minutes.
From these vantage points, the view astounds. “The more I see of the nursing profession, the more in awe I am. What these nurses are doing, how much we don’t even know about how they support communities—take the nurses out of the picture, it’s a scary picture.”
She’s particularly excited about her students. “What I’m seeing is this curiosity, this thinking big. They recognize they are in a different era, especially with the Affordable Health Care Act. Technology, information science, quality improvements, health care economics and finances—nurses are more astute in this than before.”
Where we can do better in Minnesota, she says, is in our diversity. “We’re not mirroring the population at this time. We’re not seeing Native American, Hispanic, and black nurses. And we’re not seeing those nurses at the master’s and doctoral level.” A homogenous think tank, Bhimani warns, yields homogenous solutions.
It takes leadership to make change, but anyone can do it. “If you can inspire one person to achieve his or her dreams, you are a leader.”