Nursing in a civilized society is a calling in which men and women have made it their mission to not only to give aid and comfort to the sick, but educate the community on how to stay healthy.
By Sabria S. Jawhar
Did you ever have the urge to throttle someone who was so arrogant in their attitudes toward professions perceived as beneath them that you wondered whether they even understood the concept of giving to the community?
I am talking about the nitwits who say that nursing is nothing but a glorified maid’s job “ as if being a maid is a walk in the park as they pick up your dirty clothes and clean up your kid’s vomit. Nursing in a civilized society is a calling in which men and women have made it their mission to not only to give aid and comfort to the sick, but educate the community on how to stay healthy, and understand that some illnesses are not taboo and must be discussed so the proper treatment is given.
Recently, nursing students at the King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences staged an awareness campaign at the Mall of Arabia and Al-Andalous Mall in Jeddah. They took nursing not only to a new professional level, but a social one as well. With their teacher, Dr. Amal Al-Khalil, they courageously addressed the most sensitive medical topics considered taboo in Saudi society.
Their campaign was to address psychiatric and mental health problems. The nurses took over the center of both malls and equipped them with flat screens, leaflets and computers to discuss autism, teenage mental health, Alzheimer’s and drug addiction.
The campaign comes at a vital time for Saudis. Consider that in 2011, the number of people suffering from mental illness who visited Saudi hospitals reached nearly 75,000. Twenty percent were diagnosed as suffering from depression, 35 percent from anxiety and 40 percent had sleeping disorders. Saudi families rejected an estimated 33 percent of those patients. About 60 percent of the total of the mentally ill were women.
The nursing students’ goal was to raise awareness and teach how to detect early symptoms of mental problems and how to deal with such problems not as professionals, but how laymen could handle it.
These young women talked to mall-goers in a simple, confident and professional way. Many of the nursing students’ families, siblings and friends showed up to offer support and get an idea of how their daughters and sisters worked with the public as a nurse.
Among the crowd of nurses reaching out to the public was the Nursing College Dean, Dr. Taqwa Omer, who showed solidarity with the young women. The higher administration of the university also showed their support by providing a good budget for the women to carry out their campaign.
Together with their families, those young but determined soldiers have sent Saudi society a strong message about women, without a single word. Their actions scream that they can make a difference.
The students wanted their families to see them on the job and understand that nursing was a profession worthy of honor and respect.
Few people, even the parents who send their daughters to nursing college, understand just how strenuous are the academic requirements in classes. They must have the practical experience in treating patients. That includes routine tasks like taking blood pressure, administering an IV and listening to a patient give the symptoms of his or her illness and then understand what those symptoms mean and provide the physician with the necessary information. But these students also must have a strong, if not fluent, command of the English language because English is the international form of communication in medicine. A significant portion of their job is to educate the public about health issues that most people take for granted.
So the next time some arrogant blowhard belittles a nurse as just a maid in scrubs, ask him what are the early symptoms of a teenagers suffering mental illness or what the early stages of what the coronavirus looks like. And when he fails to give an answer, kindly tell him to shut up. n
( Source: Arab News)