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Nafisa Kabani

RN | Harrington Hospital

Nafisa Kabani overcame difficult circumstances to achieve her nursing career, but hopes her story can serve as an inspiration to others.

Ms. Kabani came to the United States from Pakistan at age 18, in an arranged marriage. For the first few years in the U.S., she stayed at home raising her three children. She spoke no English and had no formal education and soon came to realize her husband was controlling and abusive.

She was a nurses’ assistant at Harrington Hospital and her supervisors encouraged her to go to school for nursing. At age 26, she went to Quinsigamond Community College to talk about her options.

“It was scary for me at the time, with a new culture and language, but they didn’t make you feel like a stranger, I made a lot of good memories and good friends,” she said. She took about a year to complete her core courses and then applied for the nursing program and was accepted. During that time she also left her husband and was living on her own with her children.

“Financially they helped me with scholarships and state grants, I had three children and then got pregnant with my fourth child,” she said. “They allowed me to bring my child with me and supported me. It was a great experience and people should take advantage of the opportunity.”

“Sometimes you are in a situation you think you can’t get out of, but if sharing my story helps inspire someone else to realize they can overcome things and change their life, then I am happy to do so,” she said.
Ms. Kabani has been at Harrington Hospital for 25 years as an obstetrics nurse, training nurses and working with new parents. “Parenting skills programs are part of our work as well, we teach people about childcare and stress management,” she said.

She recently started working part-time, so she can spend time helping care for her grandchildren a few days a week. She lives in Webster and Shrewsbury, splitting her time between her children’s homes.
Her oldest daughter also attended QCC, graduating from the nursing program in 1997.

“When I had children I realized it was important for them to get an education. I would praise their schoolwork and let them know I expected them to go to college. You need to have an education, not just to improve your earning potential, but to feel better about yourself and help your own children,” she said.

“Anyone who is blessed to have her in their life understands her strength and spirit,” said her oldest daughter, Nadial Lakhani. “QCC is the school that helped change all our lives.”

“It can be a struggle to work, go back to school, and raise a family, but big doors open to you when you finish,” Ms. Kabani said. “QCC has so many different options no matter what your interests are. It’s tough, but they help you get there, offering a lot of support.”