By John Gulka
The University of Calgary – Qatar (UCQ) is now offering a Master of Nursing program. Nine students make up the first class of the two year, full-time program.
"There is a growing demand for master’s prepared nurses to meet the many health-care needs of the Qatar population,” says Kim Critchley, dean and chief executive officer of UCQ.
“The rapidly expanding market for advance practice nurses, and the need to continually keep pace with the rapid changes in the knowledge base, has led UCQ to develop and implement a nursing program in graduate studies,” says Critchley.
Practitioners and leadership from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) are involved with the new program. The focus of the program is oncology, in support of the Qatar National Cancer Strategy and the Qatar National Health Strategy. The three areas of focus in the National Health Strategy are: oncology, diabetes and heart disease.
Admission requirements are the same as the standards set at the main University of Calgary campus.
“I believe that a strong and comprehensive nursing education is essential to ensuring that the profession receives the respect and recognition it deserves. At Hamad, we continue to work closely with UCQ to support the development of advanced nursing qualifications as this is one of the best ways to ensure we have a high caliber of nurses who can provide excellent patient care and leadership skills in the future,” comments Ann-Marie Cannaby, executive director of Nursing at Hamad Medical Corporation.
“Through this master’s program, we are providing an important platform from which our nurses can eventually contribute to teaching programs that will develop the next generation of expert nurses for Qatar,” says Cannaby.
“The graduates will be taking up clinical nurse specialist positions at HMC. They will be making significant contributions to patient and population health focusing on oncology,” explains Laureen Styles, associate professor at UCQ .
“The graduates will have strong leadership roles in contributing to high quality care, and also as ambassadors in educating the public, patients and families with good evidence supporting cancer care. They will be making a difference in the quality of care for people who are diagnosed with cancer,” says Styles.
“It’s not just end of life care. Some of it will be prevention, some of it will be intervention and some of it will be transitions to home ― it will be a broad spectrum,” says Styles.
UCQ has been in Qatar since 2007. Forty nurses who have graduated with a nursing degree are now, or will soon be, employed in the Qatar health care system. With the start of the master’s program, the student population is in excess of 350.
“We’re starting small with nine students starting in January, which will give us a solid foundation to build upon. We’re confident that we’re going to have very strong applicants. Our admission requirements are really focusing on helping the students to be successful,” says Styles.