Student Spotlight: Zeyana Al Ismaili

Zeyana Al Ismaili

Class Year: 2024

Program/ Major: Dual PhD/DNP in Nursing

As a pediatric nurse practitioner in Oman, Zeyana Al Ismaili has seen first-hand the gap in specialized care for adolescents. Having graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a specialization in pediatrics in 2015, she returned to pursue her Doctor of Nursing Practice and PhD in nursing to help broaden care opportunities in her home country. Oman is the oldest independent country in the Arab world, and is located on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

After earning her MSN, Al Ismaili worked as an assistant lecturer in pediatric nursing and piloted the nurse practitioner role in Oman, where there are limited health care settings that provide adolescent care and fewer graduate-prepared and specialized nurses in adolescent health. She returned to CWRU in 2019 to begin her doctoral program.

“Adolescents are underseen in Oman because pediatric services only cover children up to age 12,” she said. “Once children turn 13 they are considered under adult health services; as a result, their health issues, especially reproductive health, are not well addressed.”

For Al Ismaili, furthering her education facilitates her ability to “negotiate and discuss the need for implementing advancing nursing roles in Oman,” she said.

Through Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing’s dual DNP/PhD program, designed for students who want to combine leadership in advanced practice and the development of nursing science through research, Al Ismaili is studying adolescent reproductive health and exploring cultural, Islamic and political strategies to introduce adolescent reproductive health in the Omani school health system.

“This nursing program is outcome-based, focused on strengthening professional skills, especially leadership and policy making,” she said.

In addition to her studies, and being the mom of an active 3-year-old, Al Ismaili is vice chair of the 2021–2022 PhD Student Nurses Association (PSNA) and served on last year’s John S. Diekhoff Award committee.

“Being involved in PSNA and the Diekhoff committee helps to shape my professional persona and skills, especially leadership,” she said. “An important skill gained by joining groups is the importance of supporting the team through voicing the need for change and discussing issues while also proposing solutions.”

As she continues her doctoral studies, Al Ismaili is excited about nursing’s advancement.

“It is never boring— each day and moment brings new health issues to explore and discuss that can lead to new nursing knowledge development and advancement.”