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Salmah Alghamdi: Improving infant care internationally

Oct. 5, 2016

Salmah Alghamdi is a second-year doctoral student in the College of Nursing.  An international student from Saudi Arabia, she has worked as a staff nurse in Saudi Arabia, a clinical instructor at King Abdulaziz University and a nurse practitioner at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. She graduated with a master’s degree in advanced practice nursing for women, neonates, and children from Wayne State University.

After watching a sibling suffer from childhood obesity, Salmah Alghamdi decided to become a nurse to provide care and promote healthy practices. She is preparing to improve infant care around the world.

 “I became interested in providing a high level of comfort and support to struggling patients and their families,” Alghamdi says. “I also wanted to improve patients’ outcomes through improving the knowledge and practice of nursing.”

Alghamdi finds MSU a good fit because of the strong emphasis on research. She was also intrigued by the work faculty have completed in her area of interest.

“These features at MSU match my personal requirements for motivation, comfort and learning incentives,” Alghamdi says. “As an international student, MSU has offered great resources and support that helped me to adapt quickly to the new academic environment and culture.”

With a research area of interest in infant feeding practices, Alghamdi plans to study factors that influence them so she can discover the path to a healthy childhood. She wants to help parents fight against childhood obesity through promoting healthy feeding choices in the first months of infant life.

“During my practice as a nurse practitioner,  I have dealt with infants and children who presented with different diseases. I realized since then that the majority of infectious infant diseases result from their underdeveloped immune system and lack of important nutrients found in breastfeeding,” Alghamdi says.

She believes these diseases can be prevented with the practice of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of infant life, as the World Health Organization recommends.

“Healthy infant foundation and the achievement of optimal health benefits for both infants and mothers start with breastfeeding,” she says.

Through all of her work experiences and education, Alghamdi has enhanced her practical skills, patient care abilities, knowledge and research ideas.

One professor particularly has shaped her as a future Spartan nurse. Alghamdi was inspired by Mildred Horodynski’s work with infants and children population.

“Working with Dr. Horodynski’s research allowed me to learn more about globally rising infant feeding problems, which will allow me to build upon and positively contribute to the health and well-being of children worldwide,” Alghamdi says.

After she completes her doctorate, Alghamdi is planning to return to Saudi Arabia and work as a researcher — hopefully leading a team. She also wants to teach nursing students how to make a positive difference in local and global health care.

“I am confident that the doctoral program will equip me with the knowledge and expertise I need to be a contributing member of pediatric nursing as a researcher,” Alghamdi says.

Reused with permission from the MSU College of Nursing