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After 2 PhDs, 3 MScs, I need more – Kwara female-don

Dr Khadijat Toyin Musah hails from Balogun Gambari in Ilorin East Local Government Area of Kwara State. The firstborn of her family has made many…

Dr Khadijat Toyin Musah hails from Balogun Gambari in Ilorin East Local Government Area of Kwara State. The firstborn of her family has made many firsts in her career as a nurse. The multi talented scholar, whose passion for education knows no bound, told Daily Trust on Sunday that she was not satisfied with two doctorate and three masters’ degrees, as well as other issues. 

How would you describe your years of growing up as a girl-child?

I always become nostalgic whenever I remember those good old days when the upbringing of a child was a communal responsibility – every member of the community was involved. We were brought up to respect our elders, including those who were not biologically related to us. So a child would always avoid any act of indiscipline, having it in mind that he/she could be reprimanded by any adult in the community. 

It is a pity that some of these societal values have been eroded and compromised in the name of civilisation and our society is the worst for it. I was brought up to appreciate the value of hard work. My father was a popular merchant dealing in buying and selling of cattle while my mother was a trader. 

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You are highly educated, how did you achieve that?  

I was fortunate to have parents who were determined to give me the best in terms of education and also inculcated in me the moral value. I thank the Almighty Allah that I was able to make use of the opportunities. Typical of an average Ilorin child, I was enrolled in an Arabic school, where I learnt the rudiments of Arabic and Islamic education. I remain grateful to my parents for providing me with these great opportunities that have been of tremendous help to me in all facets of my life.

What informed your chosen career?

Alhamdulillah! I will say that nursing has been the profession of my choice even before I entered secondary school. I always love to assist people around me; and I don’t like seeing people experiencing any form of pain or suffering. So it was natural when I had to choose a career/profession. I naturally went for nursing science, and, Alhamdulillaahi, it turned out to be a right choice for me.  I feel highly fulfilled as an advanced nursing practitioner with specialisation in community health and geriatrics.

Did your spouse play any role in all of these?

He played a great role and is still playing. I met my husband when I was about to enroll in the School of Nursing, Oshogbo. At that time, I was not ready for marriage because of my strong desire to acquire more education although my parents were already mounting pressure on me. My fear was whether I would still be able to continue my education after marriage. I am, however, grateful to Allah for giving me the right man who lived to his promise that he would give me all the necessary support and encouragement to get to the peak of my career. I owe my success to the tremendous support of my spouse, Alhaji Zakari Musah, a successful banker. He gave me all the support. I thank him for standing by his promise and lending a helping hand during house chores.

I can boldly say my husband is good!

Tell us more about your education?

I am a registered nurse, midwife and a public health officer with 28 years of clinical, administrative, teaching and research-based experiences. I am an alumnus of School of Midwifery, Ilorin (Now College of Midwifery) and School of Nursing, Osogbo (now College of Nursing). I hold a bachelor degree in Nursing Science from Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State and another B.Sc (ed) in Health Science from Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), both with second class (upper division). For my postgraduate degrees I have gotten two PhDs in Nursing Science and Public Health from the University of Nicaragua (UCN), South America and University of Ilorin, with three MScs in Nursing Science, Epidemiology and Tropical Diseases (UCN) and Education (OOU) respectively.  

I am the chairman of the West African Postgraduate College of Nurses and Midwives, Oyo-Osun Branch. I worked briefly in the General Hospital, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, as a senior nursing sister before crossing to the academia. 

How has your journey in the academia been?  

I had the honour to serve as the head of the Department of Community Health; the pioneer Director, Centre for Paramedics and Emergency Services; Director, Centre for Wellness and Creative Arts Therapy in the Kwara State University, Malete Nigeria. 

I have toured the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on account of either an external examiner, marker or as a guest lecturer in some higher institutions and organisations. I have also given four keynote addresses in many higher institutions in Nigeria. 

I have reviewed curriculums and developed contents for universities in Nigeria and abroad, including the Adeleke University, Ede; James Lind Institute, Singapore; African Institute of Public Health Professionals; West African Health Examiner Board. I have contributed immensely to the advancement of nursing and public health in Africa. 

It was my presentation that got the Kwara State University (KWASU) Senate approval for the proposal on the commencement of nursing programme. 

Presently, I have been appointed to the Faculty of Nursing Sciences, University of Abuja as the pioneer dean for the commencement of nursing programme. I have visited states in the USA, England, Germany and Australia on account of scholarly activities and adventure. 

I had the privilege as a co-author of the book Titled ‘’Fundamentals of Clinical Practice for Public Health Nursing Officers – a book that was adopted for the training of Public health nursing officers in Nigeria. By the grace of Almighty Allah, I have the singular opportunity for the presentation that got KWASU Senate approval for the proposal on the nursing program which is yet to commence. 

Currently, I have been appointed to the Department of Nursing Sciences, University of Abuja, as the pioneer Head of the department for the commencement of nursing programme.

Amid the challenge of girl-child education, especially in the North, how was it possible for you to bag two PhDs and three M.Scs in different fields?

Alhamdulillah! It has not been easy, but I will attribute my modest achievements to the Almighty Allah who, in his infinite mercies, made it possible for me to realise my life ambition. I am indebted to my parents, my father of blessed memory (May Allah be pleased with him) and my mother. Both of them went extra miles and made huge sacrifices to ensure that I am successful in my chosen career; then my spouse and pillar of support, who believed in my dreams. I consider myself fortunate to have him as my husband. 

What was your biggest obstacle in accomplishing this feat and how did you surmount it?

Honestly, I cannot remember the obstacles because I put them behind me. All I remember now are the achievements. Obstacles will always be there, and they were actually there. The roads to success are always filled with potholes. My desire to succeed made it happen, with the Almighty God on my side.  If you dream it, you can achieve it! When you think right, act right and do away with unnecessary distractions you will surely get to your destination in due course.

How were you able to balance your studies with the home front, and now, work?

God gave me a loving husband who understood my dream. His support and encouragement made it easier. My mother-in-law of blessed memory was also available to nurse my children while I was pursuing further studies. It was a joint effort.

What has been your biggest motivation?

It is no other thing than the desire to make a difference, and the quest for knowledge. 

Have you rested on your oars or you still have other achievements in view?

Have you ever heard the saying, “If you are not growing you are dying?” Without continuous personal and career growth, one will remain stagnant. So, we move. I am working on some other projects. 

Any regret thus far, and what would you like to change in your educational path? 

There is no regret of any kind and I have nothing to change in my educational trajectory. I chose nursing as a career, branched into public health nursing specialty and made my contributions. I am happy to have chosen to be a nurse. I have contributed to the advancement of both nursing and public health at national and international levels. I thank the Almighty Allah who made it easy.  

Apart from academics, what other thing do you do?

I am a cycling enthusiast and Rotarian of repute. I am a member of the Board of Cycling Federation of Nigeria. I even sponsored a cycling programme for the entire 16 local government areas in Kwara State, which got the nod of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and other stakeholders on the need to promote health and wellness. 

By Allah’s grace, I can describe myself as a balanced woman. I think right, act rightly and avoid stress. Although I am a multi-talented nurse and public health guru, I know my boundaries. My passion for caring led me to establish the Khadijat Toyin Musah (KTM) Foundation.

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