Known as ‘Florence Nightingale of Kashmir’, Hassina Wani mentored a generation of nurses

Former nursing superintendent Hassina Wani treated her patients as her own

Srinagar: Known as the ‘Florence Nightingale of Kashmir’, former nursing superintendent and ex-principal IUST College of Nursing, Hassina Wani died at the Government Medical College, Srinagar, on Monday, where she was undergoing treatment for cancer. She was 63.

Born and brought up in Habba Kadal locality of old city, she did her bachelors in nursing at Rajkumari Amrit Kaur College of Nursing in 1978 and masters in medical-surgical nursing from the same college in 1989.

She joined SKIMS in 1982, where Hassina was moved by the plight of stoma care patients. This motivated her to set up a separate stoma care unit in the early 1990s at the tertiary care hospital. In 1996, she completed a fellowship in medical-surgical nursing from Australia.

In the same year, she was promoted to the position of nursing superintendent, and continued in this position till her retirement in 2017.

After retirement she was appointed as Principal of Alamdar Memorial college of Nursing IUST Kashmir, but resigned in February 2020 after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

She was also actively involved with IGNOU programmes as a programme coordinator for DNA and academic counsellor for various nursing courses. In 2011, she was awarded the National Florence Nightingale Award by the President of India for her tireless work and admirable devotion towards patient care and social service.

“A tall woman with twinkling green eyes, she was the kind of person who literally had a heart of gold,” said her close friend and current Principal of Alamdar Memorial college of Nursing IUST Dr Mehmooda Regu.

She added, “Hassina was a trained stoma therapist. She was not only kind to patients but also financially aided them especially the oncological and stoma care ones. She attended to patients like her dear ones.”

Not only was Hassina the most-sought after nurse by patients, but she has also mentored a generation of nurses as a nursing superintendent, Regu recalls.

Vice Chancellor IUST Mushtaq Ahmad Siddiqi and her former colleague at SKIMS said Hassina was someone who was unshakeable in her beliefs.

“She was highly disciplined and professional. Her stint at IUST college of Nursing proved it, as her students as well as the faculty were happy with her. Also, her remarkable trait was honesty of purpose. When she was diagnosed with the dreadful disease, she immediately decided to quit her job. Someone in her position would have dragged on. But she honestly said she won’t be able to do justice to her chair,” he said.

One of her students and a young graduate nurse said, “Hassina Ma’am was the most incisive minds in nursing and someone who was strict about guarding the basic principles of being human.”

Hasina is survived by her two daughters, son and husband – renowned neurosurgeon – Dr Afzal Wani.


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