The nursing profession is considered as one of the most important and strategic careers in the healthcare system. It is based on special experiences and exclusive skills based on the modern principles of general health and behavioral science, in addition to comprehensive care of patients in cooperation with other medical teams.
Both female and male nurses have to undergo technical, administrative, educational, consulting, and social functions while performing their nursing duties, including diagnosis, planning and execution to offer healthcare to individuals and the society. The importance of the role nurses play is increasing in the light of expanding healthcare services. A nurse is considered the backbone of the hospitals and healthcare centers as they play a major role in achieving efficiency.
Dr. Yousif Al Serkal, Assistant Undersecretary for the UAE Ministry of Health’s Hospitals Sector, stated that the Ministry, in cooperation with the Nursing Department, has launched a national initiative to boost the attractiveness of nursing profession during its cabinet meeting. It aims to attract UAE national to a career in nursing to offer high level of healthcare services by adopting programs in cooperation
with the other sectors such as education, health and media. In addition, the Ministry will cooperate with partners that work on Emiratization to improve human resources and make nursing as an attractive career that is viewed as a high profile job.
Dr. Sumaya Mohammad Abbas, Director of the Ministry of Health’s Nursing Department, said that three major domains came out of the initiative.
1. The Stimulating and Encouraging Domain
This includes rules and regulations that play a major role in encouraging people to work in nursing and make it an attractive career for male and female Emiratis. The Ministry is in process to launch two awards – Nurse-Friendly Hospital Award and Salma Award for Nursing Innovation. The former will be given to the hospitals that offer the most attractive environment for nursing staff in compliance with the international standards. The latter is named after the UAE’s first nurse Salma Al Sharhan and will be given to the best nurse based on creativity and innovation.
2. The Media and Press Domain
This includes different media programs that contribute in implementing informative media plans about the importance of nursing, nursing specialties, and prospects of career development. This domain aims to change the stereotype about nurses in general and about the UAE nurses in particular.
Dr. Sumaya said that the Ministry has taken major steps in this field and is working with different media agencies to promote nursing profession through print and audio-visual advertisements to shed lights on the human aspect of nurses. In addition, it is preparing Emirati nurses through specialized training courses to appear in media. The Nursing Department will also announce a prize to create a cartoon character to represent nurses that will be used in a smart application and will be used to launch games to promote nursing among children and teenagers. It will also focus on increasing social awareness about the importance of nursing through the launch of an initiative ‘Rahma,’ targeting the UAE families and highlighting the role of nurses in the society.
3. The Rehabilitation and Education
This focuses on the importance of training and education in making nursing an attractive career for UAE Nationals by introducing it in the early stages of public education. In cooperation with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health has launched the ‘Little Nurse’ program, targeting the Kindergarten (KG) and primary students by introducing nursing in their curriculums. In addition, it will include Nursing as a career in the Academic Guidance Program to attract the secondary school students to take up nursing as their academic programs for their career development, highlighting the privileges of nursing profession. The Bachelor’s Program has attracted 40 secondary school students for 2015-2016 session in Sharjah University and RAK University in addition to the high tech universities in Sharjah and Fujairah.
The education and technical development of nurses is a part of the Ministry’s strategy to guarantee good quality healthcare services in government clinics and hospitals. To enhance this career, the Ministry offers scholarships for Bachelor Programs in Nursing in cooperation with the local universities. So far, it has awarded 19 scholarships to nurses to continue their Master’s Program and three nurses have received scholarship to do Master’s Program in Nursing in cooperation with international organizations. The Ministry is currently working with some local universities and colleges that undertake Nursing Program to make a unified draft for admission and related regulations for all UAE-based universities. Moreover, giving importance to the continuous education and exchange programs for UAE nurses, the Ministry sends them abroad to represent the country.