Shahnaz Singh-Kandah, NP

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Hometown: Lakewood, NJ

Name of Undergraduate Institution: Northeastern University

Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Neuroscience (Undergraduate), Registered Nurse (Undergraduate), Nurse Practitioner (Graduate School)

Name of Professional School: Columbia University

Favorite Quote: “Happy Moments, Praise God. Difficult Moments, Seek God. Quiet Moments, Worship God. Painful Moments, Trust God. Every Moment, Thank God.

Contact Info:

Additional Links: Instagram: @nazzy_naz

Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?

I’m currently practicing as an Oncology Nurse Practitioner in New York, NY. I enrolled in Columbia University’s combined RN/NP program in 2015. I received my Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2016 (accelerated program for second degree students), and went on to complete the Master of Science Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program in 2018. I was fortunate enough to receive a full-time job opportunity during graduate school that allowed me to continue school while gaining nursing experience.

Growing up, I watched as my mother, who was a nurse, operate her own health care agency. She taught me the many career options that nurses have, and that it's not restricted to a bedside. You can do what fulfills you and brings you happiness. Right now, my happiness is caring for oncology patients and helping them through the trajectory of their illness.

If you could go back and have a chat with your 1st year postgraduate self, what would you tell her?

Well, considering I’m in my 1st year postgraduate, my advice would be to never doubt yourself or God's will for you. I was hired for a job  that was looking for a nurse with 3+ years of nursing experience. Not only did I receive the job, but my employer paid almost half of my master's tuition. Never limit yourself!

What is a major challenge you have had to overcome and how did you do so?

Financial aid! Man, school is expensive. I would encourage everyone to look into scholarships. Seriously. Devote your time because there is money out there for healthcare students and professionals. I had to become best friends with financial aid in order to learn about the many opportunities. Companies such as Tylenol have large scholarships for healthcare students. Don't settle for taking out large private loans without first doing your research. However, with that said, there is still some debt that you will have to accumulate. That's the gift in exchange for an extremely rewarding career.

What do you feel is the most challenging part of your job? The easiest part?

The level of transparency that is required on both ends — from my patients and myself — is challenging. In my life outside of work, I'm not usually emotionally vulnerable or open. My job requires me to be transparent, which can be a challenge. I have experienced a lot of loss in my life with the death of my mom and brother by the time I turned 26 years old. My patients indirectly challenge me to deal with the hurt I've experienced from these losses and live each day with meaning. My field of oncology has a low survival rate.  Making connections with patients and their families is wonderful, but even more difficult when they pass on. I never want to get to the point where I'm desensitized to my work because the beautiful aspect of working in oncology is that you get to know people for who they truly are. You hear about their passions, families, faith, love, career, fears, and dreams. This does not happen in many other professions, and it's a pleasure treating people with such interesting and unique backgrounds.

What gives you the greatest motivation to get up every day to go to work?

My patients. I know it sounds cliche, but I think of the battles they face every day traveling to a cancer center. I have patients that travel from across the country to receive quality healthcare specific for their disease. They leave behind their family and loved ones to embark on an unknown journey. Above all else, it's important to be present in the exam room when they are their most vulnerable selves praying for a miracle. I treat my patients how I would want my family members to be treated.

What do you like to do for fun?

Travel! I have traveled to several different countries, but my favorite trips are mission's trips. That's when I get to really learn and understand new cultures. I visited Mumbai, India in November 2017. I spent time in the slums and got to love on beautiful children wanting to know more about God. It has been a blessing to travel the world and share about God's love while also building community centers and providing free healthcare.

Thank you so much for the incredible information you shared with us Shahnaz, we appreciate you! Your job defintiely is a tough, yet hugely rewarding one. Your patients are incredibly fortunate to have someone like you caring for them! We'll be cheering you on as you continue to do great things in your career!

Health Career Spotlights Home Page

Posted on November 28th, 2018

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