A lack of medical care during childhood in the Bildangi refugee camp in Nepal prompted Virginia Commonwealth University student Khada Dollal to seek advanced credentials in medicine. That journey from mud huts led him to the study of complex medicines. Now at 28, Dulal will graduate this month with a Doctor of Anesthesia practice from VCU’s College of Health Professions. After passing his boards, Dulal will direct those life-saving medical services to patients at VCU Health.
Dulal has pursued a career as a certified nurse anesthetist because it allows him to focus his time and energy on one patient at a time.
“I work through the complex intricacies of a patient’s physiology, his disease processes and many other factors,” Dollal said. “I will be the last person they talk to before I sleep and then the first to talk to them after they wake up.
“I can get a cancer patient to be at the most vulnerable time in their life, reduce their anxiety, and take them to [operating room]And when they wake up, they will be free of cancer, or they will have had this life-changing surgery. I will be responsible for them, for their comfort and their pain.”
Deprivation fed Dollal’s ambition. Political conflict in his family’s home in Bhutan, western Nepal, preceded his birth and forced his family to live in the primitive conditions of a refugee camp run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
“We had minimal access to any kind of healthcare,” Dollal said. “My mother was telling me a story that when she gave birth to me in a nearby hospital, we had to travel for 30 minutes by bike. She was about to go into a coma for five to seven days because of the lack of medical resources and everything that was not available there.”
Another touching incident that propelled Dalal into healthcare was seeing his grandmother die at the age of 60 from uncontrolled diabetes.
“She was getting sick a lot, and we had to quickly take her to the hospital, put her on the back of a bike for the 30-minute ride to the nearest hospital,” Dollal said. “This was the other reason why I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare, so that I could be a data bank or resource to help the people closest to me with anything related to healthcare in my community and to people across the region.”
When he was 14, Dollal’s family was resettled by the International Rescue Committee in Salt Lake City, Utah, where his uncle lives. Once settled in the United States, he went from a year of culture shock and ESL to high school honors and advanced placement courses.
“I was just intent on moving forward with the opportunity I had,” Dulal said. “In the US, I was finally able to go to school with all these facilities. I realized that if I wanted to learn something, there were resources available. I studied my ass in whole high school and at the University of Utah, where I did my BA in Nursing on a full scholarship. “.
Dulal completed his undergraduate degree in May 2016 and worked at the University of Utah Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit for more than two years. He started his PhD program at Virginia Commonwealth University in January 2019.
“My mom has arthritis, so I wanted to have the highest education, and the job that goes along with that, so I can make sure she won’t toil another day in her life and that I can provide for her, help her financially, and just be a resource for her,” Dollal said.
Academic benefits include graduating with a 4.0 credit and receiving multiple scholarships from the Department of Nurse Anesthesia and the College of Health Professions.
Throughout his intensive study programme, Dollal’s brother Milan, a mobile nurse, lived with him in Richmond, where he provides a support system.
Dollal culminated his studies with a doctoral research project investigating the preoperative use of the antibiotic cefazolin, especially in people with a history of penicillin allergy. He was able to advance his work with his advisor, Harold Barnwell The third, DNAP, assistant professor in the Department of Nurse Anesthesia, at a professional conference.
“The anesthesia is great,” Dollal said. “It really tells us how resilient the human body is. It’s amazing that I do it day in and day out.”
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