Nurses from the Dubai Health Authority(DHA) recently visited a school in Dubai to educate students about nursing as a profession and the various nursing education opportunities available in the United Arab Emirates(UAE).
More than 300 higher-secondary school students from a public school in Dubai took part in this educational program.
Naeema Muallem, an Emirati nurse working with Rashid Hospital for 16 years, said: “This initiative was held in mark International Nurses Day 2014 and we since we received excellent feedback from the school students and administration, we decided to make the initiative a permanent one.”
She said DHA nurses will educate boys and girls in higher-secondary schools in Dubai about the profession in a bid to raise awareness about the profession amongst them and will also provide further information to students looking to pursue nursing as a career.
In addition to this initiative, to mark International Nurses Day, all DHA hospitals celebrated this day and nurses from DHA also took part in the DHA’s Twitter Clinic #smart_clinic, that was held to discuss the role of nurses in the health sector and disseminate vital tips for DHA followers on Twitter.
Naeema Muallem, an Emirati nurse working with Rashid Hospital for 16 years, said: “Over the year’s there has been a rise in awareness levels of the public in general and among young students about the important role that nurses play in healthcare delivery. Today, with the tie-ups that the DHA has with various nursing colleges in the UAE and abroad, we see a rise in the number of people opting for this occupation. Yet, the profession has a lot of challenges such as the perception of the profession, the nature of work and the need for further community awareness.”
She said there are in various colleges in the UAE that offer nursing education such as University of Sharjah, Higher Colleges of Technology, RAK Medical and Health Sciences University, Fatma College of Health Sciences as well as international colleges such as the University of Bradford.
Nurses at the DHA are encouraged to pursue their higher education., said Khadija Al Sulaimi, a midwife at Latifa Hospital. “Nurses have various options of seeking further specializations and this adds to their expertise. I worked in the maternity department at Latifa Hospital for three years and then decided to pursue a one-year midwifery course that was organized by the DHA along with the Higher Colleges of Technology in Dubai.”
Sulaimi was one of the 23 nurses who completed the first midwifery course in the UAE.
Muallem said that nurses are in many ways the backbone of the healthcare system and they contribute greatly to the betterment of healthcare services and therefore investing in training, recruitment and further education of nurses is vital for a strong healthcare system.
She said while recruitment is important, creating a thriving, sustainable and positive work environment is important to ensure retention of nurses, as the nature of the work of nurses is exceptionally demanding. “Since 2009, we started receiving a significant number nurses who have completed their graduation from universities in the UAE and so far we are proud that all of them have stayed on with us, they are dedicated to the profession and many of them are seeking further specializations.”
She added that in order to ensure a steady flow of young professionals in the field, the community needs to perceive the role of nurses in a better light. ” While the perception has drastically improved over the last ten years, still, we would like to educate the community that all professionals within a health sector have a specific role and that the role of nurses is a vital one.”
She also expressed her appreciation to the higher authorities and the government for supporting and encouraging Emirati nurses. ” The support and encouragement Emirati nurses have received has been exceptional and it is also reflects the important played by women in society.