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From War-torn Homeland to the Heart of Texas: Alternate-entry graduate discovers call to serve the disadvantaged

Posted: Feb. 12, 2013

A video by Longhorn Network featuring nursing student Wagma Noor, (MSN ’13).

As a little girl she remembers waking in the middle of the night to explosions and gunfire followed by hysteria and frantic calls for help.

Because her native country of Afghanistan has been plagued by war for more than three decades, it suffers a serious shortage of properly trained medical professionals, which in turn exacerbates the death toll. Out of this misery and despair, Wagma Noor, (MSN ’13) came to understand the importance of quality health care and knew she wanted to help, to treat, to heal the wounded and sick.

“Stress from war is surreal and largely unknown in the West,” said Noor. “But to those who have experienced such suffering, it is life changing.”

Not long after immigrating to the United States, Noor settled in Austin and earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Texas at Austin before enrolling in the School of Nursing’s Alternate-Entry Master’s Program.

“I chose the nursing field because nurses fulfill a dynamic and essential role, focusing on the patient while incorporating theory and practical care to restore and maintain health and prevent illness,” she said.

Eventually, Noor plans to become a nursing educator to teach and mentor future nurses in a university setting. But until then, she looks forward to performing both research and clinical work and to using her leadership skills to promote the health of people from all backgrounds and income levels.

“I see myself educating disadvantaged children and families on health issues since healthy habits need to begin early in life,” she said. “It’s crucial to help children make good lifestyle choices, not only for their own personal well-being, but for the overall welfare of the community and health-care system.