University of Calgary – Qatar students celebrated International Nurses Week with a quartet of events and a special focus.
“We wanted to do something different and meaningful with the annual celebration of nurses. So, we decided to stage a number of events with emphasis on giving back to the community,” stated Aisha Al Khaireen, one of the student organizers.
The first stop was Dhreima, a care centre for orphaned children. The students delivered gifts of toys, games and books to the children. They were given a tour of the modern and well- equipped facilities. “I learned a lot about how these organizations work, their administrative structure and how they plan and organize the care of their patrons. That is valuable information that I will use when working as a nurse,” Al Kaireen said.
Another student organizer Mohammed Riad said, “I am now aware and better prepared to take care of the people in these institutions when I graduate. We are celebrating International Nurses Day and what better way to do that than to help the people in need in our own community.”
Dhreima representatives were highly impressed with the students generosity and interest in helping those less fortunate in Doha. “The visit means a lot to us because it raises public awareness about Drheima. It is important that everyone in Qatar be aware of this agency and what it is doing. The children will be thrilled with the gifts that you have brought, even the older ones,” stated Khaled Kamal, Managing Director.
Kamal believes the student’s gesture reflects positively on their nursing abilities. He feels they will make a great contribution to health care in Qatar. “Nursing is a noble profession. Often, the reason why people get well is not because of the doctor, but because of the nurse. It’s all about the dedication and how you serve the patients. Everybody has a job to do but it’s the ones that do it with dedication and love that make a difference. These students are making a difference.”
The second stop on the tour was a visit to Shafallah, a Center of Excellence that provides comprehensive services and care to individuals with developmental learning challenges, their families, and the community. The visit was hosted by Best Buddies, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.
The highlight was an opportunity for the students to work with Shafallah residents in creating mask designs. The project proved to be a lot of fun and showcased the creative talents of the Shafallah artists.
Rania Abou Ghaida, College Program Coordinator – Best Buddies Qatar expressed her gratitude and admiration of the UCQ nursing students generosity. “The UCQ students got the opportunity to mingle with students with special needs. This will give them the opportunity to learn how to work with people with disabilities while they are nursing. Hopefully, the UCQ grads will make a significant contribution toward improving upon health care services in Qatar. Having UCQ come here and spend time with our students is the kind of social integration that we strive for. It tells our students that there is someone who does care for them and they are being accepted in the community.”
Again, the UCQ nurse students handed out gifts of toys, books and games.
The third student-led, on campus event was a trip through the history of nursing in Qatar. Dressed in uniforms from bygone years the students set up booths with posters, antique health care equipment that told the story of nursing in Qatar. “Qatar has a rich history of nursing. We thought it would be fun and informative to walk people through that history. Now, UCQ is adding another chapter to that story,” explained Al Khaireen.
The final stop on the nursing week celebration tour was the Qatar Foundation for Elderly People Care Centre. It has 23 residents who have been at the centre since it opened in 2007. It provides the elderly in Qatar with a decent life with suitable health, social and psychological care services. “I’m very impressed with the students. They’re spending time with our residents and playing games with them. They are making them feel valued. These people don’t have family to care for them. This kind of care and attention is what they need,” stated Khalid Abdulla Hussein, Head of the Public Relations Section.
The students intend on making a return visit to the centre. “We will come back during Ramadan or National Day to spend time with the seniors. They were really moved by our visit. You could see their spirits being lifted,” said Al Khaireen.
“All-in-all I think our nurses week celebrations were a success. We achieved our goal of making a significant contribution to those less fortunate in the Qatar community. We showed them that nurses care for them, not only in hospitals and other health care institutions, but in the community. We hope everyone in Qatar is more aware of these agencies that provide care for the needy. Perhaps they too will dedicate some time to provide companionship with those who spend a lot of their life alone,” concluded Al Khaireen.
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