Bootan Ahmed’s world changed forever on Feb. 1, 2004.
It was the day his father was killed in a suicide bombing attack in Hawler, Iraq.
It was also the day the now second-year PhD student at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing envisioned a future as a nurse.
“I was looking to find my dad at the hospital and noticed that nurses were playing the lead, providing emergency care to patients who were injured and burned due to the attack,” Ahmed said. “After experiencing that catastrophic event, I knew I wanted to be a nurse because of the significant role they play in healthcare.”
Ahmed was born and raised in Erbil, the capital city of the Kurdistan region of Iraq. He completed his undergraduate degree at the College of Nursing at Hawler Medical University, where he graduated top of his class.
Known for the Citadel of Erbil—an imposing, fortified desert castle with tall stone walls—the city has a rich history dating back well over 6,000 years. It was the legacy of Case Western Reserve University’s nursing program that drew Ahmed to northeast Ohio.
“Case Western Reserve’s reputation is recognized across the world and the School of Nursing is recognized as a leader in research, nursing and education—a place that offers a great research opportunity for graduate students to work with faculty,” he said.
Ahmed is researching the social determinants of health, especially how they can impact the health and outcomes of patients with Type 2 diabetes and other chronic illnesses. He also has an interest in researching breast cancer patients’ fatigue—what he calls “one of the most devastating and common symptoms among women facing that diagnosis” that needs more research.
“Healthcare is a dynamic field, and nurses have the opportunity to continually learn and grow in their position,” said Ahmed, who would like to be a faculty researcher after graduation. “Acquiring new skills and knowledge can be personally rewarding, but fulfilling the needs of patients, providing care and comfort to patients, and developing close relationships with their families are some of the most rewarding parts of my job as a nurse.”