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IEW Profile: Favorite Iradukunda

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Favorite Iradukunda PhD ’20 has a message for new nurses: “Welcome, we need you more than ever!” Iradukunda recently earned her doctorate in nursing from UMass Amherst, subsequently accepting an assistant professorship (pending license transfer) in the College of Nursing.

Iradukunda grew up in Rwanda, and came to UMass in 2016. She was inspired to become a nurse early in life by observing her aunt, also a nurse. Seeing the hard work—and lack of recognition— her aunt and her colleagues endured, she felt a need to become a part of the solution. “I always tell people I became a nurse for nurses,” she says. “I wanted to support them, I wanted to advocate for them.”

Part of that advocacy includes addressing inequities in our healthcare sytem. Iradukunda hopes that educating a new generation of nurses will allow her to address several troubling trends in healthcare: a lack of representation and cultural understanding in treatment. “Over and over we’ve seen people saying that it’s easier for them when they receive care from someone who understands their culture, their perspective, and where they’re coming from,” she says. “There’s a need to make sure that our programs are diverse, that we’re educating nurses of color to represent the population that we have.”

Iradukunda was an active member of the UMass community during her time as a student here, serving on the graduate student senate, and working with the African graduate student and scholar community as well. She also worked for IPO during international student orientation for three years. “My favorite part of being part of this community is the culture of humility that I’ve seen—a genuine interest in learning and respecting differences in culture and opinions,” she says.