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The POLHN Journey of Kishan Kumar

Published on: 3 February, 2018

Kishan Kumar is a senior lecturer at the Sangam College of Nursing in Fiji. Thanks to POLHN, he has successfully completed his Master’s degree. Read below to learn about his journey.

As far back as I can remember I’ve had a strong desire to pursue a career in the areas of nursing and education. From the time I was a young boy, it has been my dream to attend one of the top universities. I wanted to attain the skills, knowledge and training necessary to help people both medically and intellectually.

As a young boy, I did not know education comes at a cost. Thankfully I was awarded government sponsorship for my tertiary level education, and in 2008 I achieved my Advanced Diploma in Nursing from the Fiji School of Nursing. After that, I started work at the Ministry of Health as a registered nurse and later as a project officer until 2014.

I was always passionate about upgrading my qualifications. To attain a Master’s degree I had to start from the postgraduate certificate level so I decided to sign up for a Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health from the Fiji School of Medicine. It was not long until I realised that Master’s programs are hard, time consuming, and expensive. I kept asking myself why higher education comes with higher price tags. For me, this process took some time. I sat down and considered what I wanted out of my nursing school experience. As I considered the pros and cons of privately funding my studies, several factors stood out that led me to quit my dream. The main issue with studying as a private student is that it would cost me more than what I could afford.

The following week I was introduced to POLHN through a friend who was a lecturer at the Fiji School of Nursing. With the help of the POLHN coordinator I was able to apply for POLHN sponsorship just before applications closed. A few weeks later I received an email from POLHN with a sponsorship offer letter.

In 2012 I completed a POLHN-sponsored postgraduate certificate in Public Health from Fiji National University. But I did not stop there. In the same year, I applied for POLHN sponsorship for a postgraduate diploma in Public Health and later in 2014 I attained Master’s in Public Health through POLHN.

POLHN provided me the opportunity to study while I was working in Korovou and Tailevu. I was far away from the POLHN centre, which was in Tamavua. I was able to download my notes and take part in the discussion forums to communicate with my teachers and at the same time upload my assignments. This flexibility allowed me to work and study at the same time.

Throughout my experience as a POLHN student for 5 years, I completed 12 units in order to obtain my Master’s degree. I learned that POLHN students must be good at time management so as to not miss any online deadlines. Students should be self-motivated and proactive as online learners.

My favourite quote is from Orison Swett Marden: “Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.”.
These words kept me motivated even though I was working in rural areas, helping me to complete Master’s in Public Health by Research. We should not blame our circumstance but try our best to succeed.

POLHN helped me move up to try something new. I really wanted to move from the clinical setting to a classroom-based working environment, so I got a position as a teacher. Currently I am at Sangam College of Nursing and Health Care Education Fiji as a senior lecturer in the Department of Personal Professional Development & Research and Head of Undergraduate Studies at the College.

Vinaka POLHN team for assisting myself and other ambitious health workers throughout the Pacific.

Edited by: Margaret Goydych

For more information, contact Ms Shivala Singh, country coordinator for Fiji (email here).