84 nurses to graduate from FCHS in October

ABU DHABI - When the first batch of nursing students receives their certificate of completion from the Fatima College of Health Sciences (FCHS) in the college’s inaugural graduation ceremony in October, there will be 84 new additions, 12 of whom are Emiratis, to this much needed segment of healthcare professionals.

By Olivia Olarte

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Published: Tue 19 Jul 2011, 9:27 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 5:57 AM

Established in 2006 to operate under the umbrella of the Institute of Applied Technology (IAT), FCHS which is also affiliated to the Griffith University in Australia, has slowly gained recognition as the health education provider in the UAE with a growing number of enrolees each year and more nurses taking up the bridging programme to top-up their diploma to get a degree.

“We now have more students than the combined number of students of other nursing institutions,” stated Professor Russell W Jones, director of FCHS. At present, 254 students are enrolled at the college’s four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing and 218 nurses at the bridging programme at the Abu Dhabi and Al Ain campuses. Around 40 nurses already graduated from the two-year bridging programme.

According to Professor Rebecca Jester, FCHS head of school for nursing, student achievement is very high with a good number of their students getting into the Griffith University’s Dean’s list.

“The results we’ve had from the first set of pre-registered graduates are very pleasing and are certainly comparable with my experience in the UK and in our main campus in Griffith in Australia,” she said.

The nursing programme is taught in English and is clinically-focused, with freshmen students spending a three-week ‘sensitisation’ clinical placement during the first semester. As they progress into their senior years, they spend more time on clinical practice.

“We’re giving them essential knowledge and skills, and then they get to apply them in hospitals. So when our students graduate, we are very confident that they are up to international standard,” explained Prof Jones.

The college is affiliated to all the public hospitals across the emirate, including Al Noor Hospital in Abu Dhabi.

Prof Jones noted the importance of working with the private sector. “The students need to understand that there is a private and a public sector and there are subtle differences between the two. It is important that students get an understanding of these differences.”

As a government institution, education is free for Emiratis, as well as, for expatriate students but with a caveat — they are bonded to work in the UAE government hospitals for two years for each year they’ve studied.

“A large number of our students are very keen to pursue a formal education that will basically guarantee them a job. It’s not really a barrier as those students have eight years of guaranteed employment in the UAE,” stated Prof Jones.

Graduating Somali student, Amnia Nasser, said she is prepared to work with government hospitals here. “I am used to this community, I know the culture. For me it is much easier to work in a place that is familiar,” said the 23-year old.


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