May 2, 2019

Respect: A universal ingredient to quality nursing

Calgary experience leaves lasting impression on latest group of UCQ exchange students

The results are in: It was amazing, professionally and personally satisfying, and motivational.

While all four University of Calgary in Qatar students, on recent exchange to Calgary, were on different units at Foothills Medical Centre, their experience was universal. “Patients gave us full respect,” says Omar Ali Azab, recounting his time on 46, a medical unit. “They would ask about medications, for example, and trust that I was giving them the correct information. When a patient gives respect to a nurse, the nurse is even more inspired to give the best care.”

The students were in Calgary for the month of March completing requirements for their final practicum for their degree. They are the fifth group of students from the university in Qatar to gain exposure to the health-care system in Canada and to the difference and similarities between nursing in the two countries.

“Nursing is the same here as it is there,” explains Abdelrahman Al-Saadi, “but the image of the nurse is not. Here, the nurses know their worth and their value. They have more control and a wider scope of practice.”

A selfie in Drumheller.

A selfie in Drumheller.

Omar Ali Azab

“I was able to widen my scope of practice, just from working for a short time, because I got to be so hands-on,” says Munia Ziyada. “In Qatar, it is more observation. Here I felt proud of the work I was able to do. It made me more enthusiastic and excited to be a nurse.”

For Pratiwi Hastania, the learning was also about the close contact a nurse can have with her patient. “There was a man on my unit who wanted to attend mass,” she says. “I think he was upset because he didn’t know where he could practice his faith. I related to this and gave him information on the sacred space within the hospital where he could go. He was so grateful and it made me so happy to be able to help him.”

All the students complimented their preceptors, who act as the guide and mentor on the units and showed them that working in teams allows for a respectful workplace. “Will, my preceptor, was so great; he was supportive and gave me all the opportunities to learn,” says Ali Azab. “I felt like I could make the decision because he gave me the confidence.”

UCalgary Nursing students and guests on a day trip to the mountains.

UCalgary Nursing students and guests on a day trip to the mountains.

Faculty of Nursing

In addition to their clinical experiences, the students also enjoyed their trips to the mountains, the zoo, Drumheller and shopping malls. “We really liked the shopping,” Al-Saadi laughs. "I would like to start my nursing career here, not just because of the wonderful environment for nurses, but for the shopping and the beautiful country!”

Cherié Wilson, a UCalgary Nursing instructor and faculty support for the students during their stay, says that having students from Qatar can give a new perspective to their teachers as well. “Having the students here and spending so much time with them reminds me of why I am a nurse. It also reminds me of the beauty of Canada.”

The University of Calgary in Qatar has been educating nursing leaders in Qatar for over a decade. Student exchange opportunities such as this one are part of a shared commitment with the State of Qatar to provide an excellent student experience and advance the profession of nursing in that country.