Mentorship programmes needed to encourage national nursing workforce in the UAE

Abu Dhabi, UAE: Nursing in the UAE, as everywhere else in the world, struggles to recruit and retain nursing staff. The majority of the nursing workforce is recruited from the Indian subcontinent and the Philippines with only approximately 3% of the UAE nursing workforce made up of Emirati nationals (El-Haddad M., 2006). Even though Emirati women have recently been empowered to join the national workforce, not many have joined the nursing profession. Several factors may be contributing, in varying degrees, to this predicament.

Amal Rawhi Al Abed, Charge Nurse at the Nursing Education Unit, Rashid Hospital, UAE, will discuss the Rashid Hospital Emirati Nurse Mentorship Program (RHENMP) at the 2nd Nursing Conference which will take place 23-25 October 2011 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center, UAE. The Nursing Conference is part of the 5th annual Abu Dhabi Medical Congress (ADMC) and will focus on providing nurses with a three-day educational event that will highlight the importance of nurses in each department within the healthcare facility following the theme “Valuing the Role of the Nurse in the UAE”.

According to Al Abed, Emirati nurses employment planning and training schemes are crucial for UAE hospitals and a comprehensive mentorship program is essential to improve the retention of Emirati nurses and maintain their job satisfaction. “There has previously been a lack of comprehensive career advancement training and mentorship programs for Emirati nurses in the UAE as well as a lack of knowledge about the specific education, management and clinical competencies required for the Emirati nurses development,” says Al Abed.

“Within Rashid Hospital a defined career pathway strategy for nursing has been developed and implemented for all staff,” Al Abed continues. “RHENMP is a non-time limited program which supports both their professional progress and facilitates Emirati nurses’ retention, adaptation and fulfilling of clinical practice and carrier development.”

Jane Griffiths is the Director of Nursing at Rashid Hospital and is also sitting on the Scientific Committee at the Nursing Conference in Abu Dhabi.

According to Griffiths, “As well as tackling the issue of recruitment and staff retention, the Nursing Conference at ADMC aims to ensure that nurses are recognised for all their hard work. Every single person attending will benefit from the opportunity to exchange ideas, share knowledge and leave with the confidence that they can enhance the patient care that they deliver.”

“The topics at the Nursing Conference are varied as we hope to appeal to a wide spectrum of nurses working in all types of healthcare sectors,” she continues. “Nurses work in the community, hospitals and critical care areas so we have put together a comprehensive conference programme that will cover all aspects of their work.”

For the first time, The Nursing Conference will introduce web-based learning and IT for nursing as well as a whole day’s session on the management of nursing staff. Also for the first time, a problem-solving session will be introduced to the programme in which nurses from across the UAE can interact with a panel of experts in order to further improve patient care within the UAE.

Supported by Cleveland Clinic, the Abu Dhabi Medical Congress is the only event in the Middle East that brings together healthcare professionals from the fields of Patient Safety, Emergency Services, Rehabilitation and Primary Healthcare for both scientific and commercial exchange.

Running alongside the Congress is a 7,000sqm exhibition which will attract over 150 companies, including UE Medical, Abbott, ASP by Johnson & Johnson, Leader Healthcare, MSD, Philips and Siemens, looking to showcase their latest products and services in these sectors.