McMaster University

McMaster University

Omani nurses gain confidence, knowledge through McMaster experience

By Amanda Boundris

Omani nurses: Mohammed Al-Abdulsalaam, Yusuf Al-Thuhli, Mubarak Al-Saad and Ahmed Al-Maskari
Four Omani nurses completed clinical training with Hamilton Health Sciences and the McMaster School of Nursing from May to August. From left to right: Mohammed Al-Abdulsalaam, Yusuf Al-Thuhli, Mubarak Al-Saad and Ahmed Al-Maskari.

Four nurses from Oman are heading home with enhanced knowledge, skills and confidence gained from a three-month clinical placement with Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and the McMaster School of Nursing.

The group is from Sultan Qaboos University Hospital in Oman. Their trip, facilitated by the nursing school, was the first visit to Hamilton for Ahmed Al-Maskari, and the second for Mubarak Al-Saad, Yusuf Al-Thuhli and Mohammed Al-Abdulsalaam, who participated in a clinical internship through McMaster in 2009 as part of their degree completion. Oman is located on the Arabian Peninsula and borders the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The nurses completed over 400 hours of hands-on training from May to August at HHS hospitals.

“Canada is one of the most advanced countries in the nursing field and that is why we chose to come here to learn,” said Al-Abdulsalaam.

He said most of his colleagues are newly-graduated and have experience from India, the Philippines and South Africa. “They have knowledge, but they don’t have the updated knowledge of the research, devices and equipment that they have in more advanced countries like Canada, the U.S. and U.K.” 

For example, a common problem back home is to have a new piece of equipment, but not know how to use it.

“We are going to bring this new information on leadership, management, medication, equipment and clinical guidelines back to the staff at our hospital to apply it,” said Abdulsalaam.

Al-Thuhli, whose focus is on the operating room (OR), said training is inconsistent in Oman because there are no OR specialists there. Through this experience, however, he was given training and testing specific to the OR.

Al-Saad discussed how in their native country, English is not spoken as the first language with patients, but it is with colleagues. “Being here really helped to improve our English,” he said.

All agreed that one of the most valuable things they will bring home is improved confidence in their abilities as practising nurses, along with a better sense of teamwork and time management.

“I gained so many skills and gained a lot of experience and confidence in caring for cardiac patients,” said Al-Maskari.

Al-Abdulsalaam added it was really important they learned how to work as part of a multidisciplinary team of registered nurses, registered practical nurses, nurse practitioners and health-care aids, “with each person focusing on their own work and supporting each other, which enhances the care provided to the patient.”

McMaster professor Basanti Majumdar, who organized the nurses’ trip, said the learning went both ways and that cultural exchange and understanding were the most important outcomes.

“It is a true opportunity for the faculty and HHS staff to understand the Omani nurses’ caring for the patients within the context of culture,” said Majumdar. “We all now know where Oman is, what their health-care policies and practices are, and about all the wonderful health-care resources available in their country. They also shared some of the health care problems and issues in their country, including a shortage of health care providers.”

The group will return to Oman on August 23 and present to the administration and staff of their hospital on their experience and provide recommendations on how to implement what they learned.

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