Male Emirati nurse calls for more of his ilk

A rarity in the profession, Majid Al Hammadi says there is much that men can do to make a real difference in enhancing health care satisfaction

20:00 September 16, 2016

Abu Dhabi: Majid Al Hammadi is a male nurse in the capital. He is also Emirati.

The 22-year old from Dubai is a rarity in Abu Dhabi’s public health care system, and says people need to understand the importance and need for more Emiratis like himself in the profession.

“There is a myth that nursing is a profession for women. And like many other communities, people undervalue the role nurses play in helping and driving patient health and wellbeing,” Al Hammadi told Gulf News.

“It is true that I became a nurse almost by chance but, knowing now the importance of the role I play, I would only encourage other Emirati men to take up the profession and make a difference to the kind of care provided by the health care system,” he added.

Al Hammadi has just completed his nursing internship at one of Abu Dhabi city’s leading public hospitals, the Shaikh Khalifa Medical City. As of now, he is one of just 120 Emirati nurses in the emirate’s public hospitals and clinics, and the only male nurse among them.

“Because patients do not meet male Emirati nurses, it contributes to the stigmas about the profession. But the Emirati patients whom I treat especially commend my efforts, and say that they feel comfortable to be interacting with someone who shares their background, cultural values and language. And it is this kind of patient satisfaction that Abu Dhabi’s health care system is aiming towards,” Al Hammadi said.

The young man admits he himself did not initially plan on becoming a nurse.

“I wished to study medicine and, after graduating from high school in Australia, I applied for a degree in medicine. It turned out that there was no room for me on the programme that particular year, so my father encouraged me to study nursing as a bridge to becoming a doctor,” he recalls.

And as Al Hammadi spent his days learning about the rigours of nursing, including patient care, at the University of Sharjah, he became more and more comfortable about his choice of degree.

“Unlike doctors, I noticed that nurses were able to spend nearly 95 per cent of their time with patients, reassuring them and supporting them physically and spiritually. And I wanted to continue providing this kind of direct, focused care,” he said.

Al Hammadi hopes to go on to specialise as an operation room nurse.

“It is a critical role, and I will be working in a high-risk environment that will challenge me and help me develop my medical knowledge,” he said.

He also has some ideas on how to attract more Emirati men to nursing.

“We need to dispel the myths about nursing being only for women. After all, most male patients are much more comfortable to have male nurses by their bedside. And, initially, we need to educate more young children about the importance of studying health sciences, and also show them how nursing itself is a specialised and developing field that requires much medical expertise,” he said.