Nursing a Growing Career Option in Qatar

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Qatar's health system has seen a growing number of nurses and at least 24 Qatari nurses are working with the Primary Health Care Corporation's (PHCC) health centres in the Western and Central regions of the country.

Nursing profession is critical in primary health care and it has the capacity and responsibility to influence the present and future of health care delivery systems, says Afrah Ali, a Qatari nurse and Operation Programme Manager at PHCC.

 

'Nursing has a unique role in the health system as we make direct contact with patients, ensuring that we deliver a holistic service that not only improves patients' health but also support them. To provide such services, it is required to have a health care model that can empower nurses and position them in a leading place, so they can make a positive contribution to the operations of health centres and fulfil their role entirely, she told The Peninsula.

'The challenge of shortage in number of physicians provides a great opportunity for the nurse's role to be expanded; they can work together with family physicians and support them when needed. The role has a large scope as we now provide direct clinical care, some of us are experts in coaching, we are leading in many research initiatives, and even Qatar National Research funded some research projects, said Afrah, who has obtained a Master of Science degree from the University of Calgary in Canada.

Nursing is growing as a new career interest among young Qataris as many of them have begun to study and take it as a profession. However, Afrah says that there is still misconception around the nursing profession locally, especially for males.

'Culturally we are beginning to value nursing as a great career option but more awareness is needed. PHCC is driving a national effort to eliminate the general misconception that nursing is a profession only for women. It highlights the significant role played by nurses and promote the benefits and value of the nursing profession to encourage Qataris to peruse it as a career, she said.

While, Qatari students are showing increasingly strong interest in the University of Calgary in Qatar (UCQ)'s Master of Nursing program where they make up 34 percent of the student body.

'Opening of the University of Calgary in Qatar was a great step towards promoting nursing in the country. The university offers programs for nurses with the diplomas to follow a bachelor degree and those with a bachelor degree to follow a master's program. It helps in improving knowledge and skills. Also the campus' exchange programs with the University of Calgary gives an opportunity to travel to Canada and get more exposure, said Afrah.

The PHCC is also supporting its nurses to further enhance their qualifications and skills by facilitating them to study at the UCQ and by providing wide training programs.

'PHCC is providing plenty of opportunities for nurses including to continue doing a degree at the UCQ. There are many opportunities to take part in workshops delivered by PHCC and in training. Also nurses get the chance to take part in training workshops delivered by PHCC. We have opportunities to attend local conferences to share ideas and experience and opportunities to travel to international conferences to discuss challenges and opportunities. We can also complete online courses attend seminars and workshops focused around nursing development. These opportunities pave way for the development of nursing profession in Qatar, said Mona Mansoori , a long term resident in Qatar and working as a nurse with the PHCC.

Her personal experience in the nursing profession has been a challenging one. 'I owe a lot to PHCC, where I built my leadership skills, my experiences in non-communicable diseases. It was not an easy journey however with hard work determination and supportive team around you anything can be achieved, said Mona.

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