Neuro Nurse Spotlight: Zeliha (Turkey)

Author: WFNN

May 16, 2021

In this quarter’s Neuro Nurse Spotlight, we’re chatting with Zeliha from Turkey to find out what a typical day-in-her-life looks like, and to find out what she most enjoys about her work.

Zeliha Tulek is an associate professor and neuroscience nurse based in Istanbul, Turkey. She is widely published and is a frequent conference speaker. Her primary focus is on stroke and multiple sclerosis, as well as dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Earning her PhD in 2006 from the Istanbul University Florence Nightingale School of Nursing with a dissertation focused on, “Quality of Life in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis”, her previous research interest has centred on quality of life, caregiver burden, nutrition, quality indicators and scale validity.

What does a typical day in your life look like, pre-COVID?

My work is quite flexible and my schedule depends largely on whether I have to teach courses that day or attend meetings. My morning commute is by car and is roughly 20-30 minutes from my home. Normally I go to the University for four days and to the hospital for one day. I typically arrive at 8:15am if I have an 8:30am class or lab–if I don’t have a morning class or lab, my arrival time is flexible.

One day each week I accompany my 2nd year students to the clinic. I am responsible (with 2 assistants) for about 50 students and I have 5 other PhD-level faculty members in the Medical Nursing department with 4 assistants. This day at the hospital is very busy because you need to teach and also to take care of very inexperienced students. I have some interns also (about 4-5)–they are 4th year students and they typically have a mentor nurse in the clinic who is precepting them, but my role is more supervisory.

Between these days, I participate in various committees and academic activities for the University. For example, I’m involved in an International Relations committee, a grant committee, and an accreditation committee. In addition, I provide active mentorship and oversight of our graduate students for their dissertations and conduct my own research and projects in collaboration with some of the clinics with which I am connected. Between these responsibilities, I’m also preparing conference presentations and material for meetings.

The end of my day varies–officially it is over at 5pm (1700 hrs), however, I often find myself working on projects and tasks until 8pm (2000 hrs). There are the occasional “all-nighters” required to prepare a speech or meet a deadline to produce a book chapter, manuscript or a project proposal.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? What about the most difficult aspect?

To me, the most rewarding part of this position is that it allows me to pursue my interest in life-long learning. Also, I’m always surrounded by young people which gives me energy and motivation–especially when they are eager to learn. It’s also very rewarding to see the success of the graduate students–it makes me feel very proud. Finally, there’s nothing quite like the relief of completing a research study or receiving a message about the acceptance of your manuscript!

Long and flexible working hours are–what I find to be–the most difficult part of the role. Sometimes there are sacrifices that have to be made, for example, in your social life, in order to achieve your professional goals. The deadlines can prove stressful and sometimes it’s difficult to stay motivated. A significant amount of organization and self-discipline is required much of the time to stay on track.
Thank you, Zeliha, for this peek into your life and work!

Stay tuned for future spotlights from other neuro nurses working and studying internationally.