Ateka Yaghoubi, an Afghani refugee, moved from Turkey to Nova Scotia in 2008 with her husband and three children. Canada provided a fresh start for Ateka’s family and her ambition drove her to start a new career in Halifax.
“In my culture, it’s difficult for women to study,” she says, pointing out that in her experience, women in the Middle East often marry in their teenage years and begin having children soon after. “It was always my dream to study and be an educated person,” says Ateka.
After a handful of years studying English as a second language, Ateka successfully completed the Adult Learning Program at Nova Scotia Community College and received her high school diploma. Ateka was an esthetician before moving to Canada, but after speaking with her teacher at NSCC she decided to apply for Dal’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and was awarded the Evelyn Negus Scholarship in Nursing upon acceptance.
“I love helping people,” says Ateka. She recalls the birth of her first child when she was living in Iran for a short period of time. “No one was around and my family wasn’t allowed to visit me. I was scared,” she says, describing a scene with no one-on-one nursing care. “Now, with every patient, I imagine myself as that patient,” says Ateka.
By putting herself in the patient’s shoes, Ateka is motivated to personalize care as much as possible — and passes this insight on as a mentor for first-year nursing students.
Ateka is a picture of strength, resilience, focus and compassion. After graduation, she’ll put her skills to use as a Registered Nurse in vascular surgery with the Queen Elizabeth Health Sciences Centre and continue to be a positive role model for her children, her peers and other newcomers to Canada.
This article is part of our series of profiles on the graduates of the Class of 2015. These profiles are also published in the Convocation Keepsake which is distributed at Convocation ceremonies. For more information (including live webcasts), visit the Convocation website.
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