KABEER YOUSUF –
The country’s healthcare sector just celebrated the GCC Nursing Day under the theme ‘Together We Care.”
Well-deserved, the Nursing Day is indeed a great way of honouring the contributions of these unsung heroines and heroes clad in white to our society.
In Oman alone, there are nearly 70 hospitals spread all over the country. They are classified as primary, secondary, tertiary or referral. Combined, these hospitals contain nearly 10,000 in-patient beds. Fifty-four hospitals are government-supported and provide free health care services for Omani citizens and for foreign nurses working in the governmental sectors.
Royal, University, Sultan Qaboos, Khoula, Al Nahda, Nizwa and Sohar are the largest tertiary teaching hospitals in the country. Royal Hospital is Oman’s largest health care institution, with about 1,000 beds and continued expansion to incorporate new facilities. This hospital, last year, has opened a dedicated heart care hospital adjacent to it.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Health (MOH), there are an estimated more than 15,000 nurses serving the MoH out of which, nearly 65 per cent are locals. In addition, the nurse-to-population ratio has risen from 32.6 nurses per 10,000 people in 1998 to 55 nurses per 10,000 people by 2016.
HISTORY OF NURSING IN OMAN
Nursing in Oman is widely recognised as an admirable, caring profession. History has it that for centuries, nursing was practiced by untrained household women who used natural remedies to treat the sick and assist with the delivery of babies.
In 1904, the first missionary nurses from America arrived in Oman to work in an organised health center. In the 1950s, a small group of US nurses serving in the American Missionary Association in Muscat began training Omani nationals to become nurses. This marked the beginning of modern nursing in Oman.
At that time, the capital city has only two small hospitals to meet the health care needs of the entire population. The American nurses joined the staffs of the two hospitals and in 1959, a six-to-nine-month training programme was established at Al Rahma Hospital for 16 Omani nurse trainees. That training center continued to educate nurses until 1970, when the American Missionary Association established a two-year nursing program, Al Rahma School of Nursing, in Muttrah.
MOH represented by the Directorate General for Nursing Affairs along with the other GCC countries, celebrated the Gulf Nursing Day under the auspices of HH Sayyidah Alia Thuaini al Said at the Crown Plaza hotel yesterday.
It was attended by members of royal family, officials from the MoH, representatives of various ministries, nurses and midwives working in health institutions as well as those concerned with the health sector in the Sultanate.
The celebration also honoured nurses who have been selected by members of Gulf Technical Nursing Committee for their accomplishments and to encourage the nursing profession in the country.
A NOBLE PROFESSION
While choosing a job to earn a livelihood at the threshold of adolescence, today’s young men or women use a lengthy yardstick. They would often measure the salary and other perks, work hours, environment, job nature, room for growth and the like. While many youths of today always choose a financially lucrative career, those who have chosen to be a paramedic or a nurse have committed themselves to ‘service to mankind with a smile’.
These men and women are the ones who have realised the purpose of their lives to be of service to the people with disability, to the wounded, the suffering, and the ill-fated who suffers eith physically or mentally.
They are the true warriors, the true propagators of divine love, peace and serenity among families and various societies. They are personification of patience and care. They become the faces of care.
They don’t trace the needles of the clock while gauging the pulse of a human lying in front of them; they aren’t worried about the cost of the clothes that they wear when they hug a person with blood oozing from his body; nor are they hesitant to wipe off the emissions from the human body in pursuit of caressing a weeping soul. For all their contributions to the society, for their selfless acts or helping others who are in need and sacrificing not only their time but skills, they can be considered indeed as angels in human forms on earth.