At the heart of Frontier Nursing University is a talented and diverse community of faculty, students, alumni and preceptors. Spotlight blogs feature members of our FNU community that are focused on the mission of educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners to deliver quality health care to underserved and rural populations.
Frontier Nursing University (FNU) alumna Mary Zimmerman is taking her skills as a nurse-midwife to places most wouldn’t dare to go.
Mary graduated from FNU with her Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN) in 2017. She is now serving as a medical team leader of a team working in an Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp in Northern Iraq.
War in Iraq began in 2014 when insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known as ISIS) took over 56,000 square kilometers of northern Iraqi territory. The war officially ended in December 2017, but many citizens remain in IDP camps as their home villages have been reduced to rubble or are still held by groups who won’t permit their return.
Armed with a doppler and a variety of medicine and prenatal vitamins, Mary serves the women in the IDP camps by visiting them in their tents, providing prenatal and postpartum care. She said, “I spend a lot of time building relationships, educating women, and offering hope to them as they imagine having a baby in a camp setting.” Mary also teaches prenatal and postpartum classes at community centers in a war torn city.
The choice to obtain her MSN in Nurse-Midwifery from FNU was an easy one for Mary as the FNU mission aligned so strongly with her own. Mary was inspired by FNU founder Mary Breckinridge and her passion for serving women in areas without traditional access to healthcare. “I assumed a school Mary Breckinridge pioneered would promote her vision for work in underserved areas,” she said.
Mary was overwhelmed by the support of her classmates, faculty, and preceptors at FNU. “No one ever said, ‘You don’t want to go to such a dangerous place.’ That meant a lot!”
Mary has always dreamed of providing healthcare to women in underserved areas and was particularly drawn to the Middle East. With her MSN degree from FNU, she is able to do exactly that.
“I am living my dream right now!” Mary said.
Thank you, Mary, for your willingness to serve the women of Northern Iraq! We are proud of you!