Nursing is a privilege: How UAE expat nurses devote their lives to serving the nation

It is only fitting to honour them for their contributions in improved health of people and communities


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Sun 12 May 2024, 10:08 AM

Last updated: Sun 12 May 2024, 10:10 PM

In the UAE, the vast majority of nurses are expatriates from different countries and cultures, working as one to deliver the highest standards of patient care.

Every year, nurses are being celebrated on the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. In this year's International Nurses Day, nurses from diverse backgrounds shared their experiences of serving the UAE.

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Annie Joy, an ambulatory care nurse, noted that in her 13-year career, including more than nine years at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, she has witnessed first-hand the impact nursing has on the health and well-being of the UAE population.

“Each day, as a nurse, I’ve had the privilege of being a part of a profession that goes beyond treating ailments, fostering wellness and resilience in individuals and communities alike," she said.

Annie Joy said, "nursing is a journey of lifelong discovery and fulfilment.Your compassion and dedication have the power to touch lives in ways you may never imagine. So, step forward with confidence, for the path you’ve chosen is one of purpose, compassion, and endless possibility."

Annie Joy
Annie Joy

Ability to shape lives

Craig Halpin, director of clinical operations at Capital Health Screening Centre, said that nursing isn’t just a career but a boundless journey of opportunity.

“Whether navigating the clinical intricacies or orchestrating operations, the horizons are limitless. Yet, amid the diversity of roles, what unites every nurse is our unwavering dedication to compassion, our innate capacity to care deeply, and, above all, the profound privilege of shaping lives. Whether you’re a novice stepping into the realm of nursing or a seasoned leader, our commitment remains – to make a positive impact on those we serve,” Halpin noted.

Craig Chaplin
Craig Chaplin

Dr Michelle Ann Gunn, who relocated from Australia to the Emirates in 2022, is determined to contribute to the UAE’s vision of creating a robust healthcare ecosystem.

“The UAE is at the forefront of redefining healthcare standards in the region, and nursing plays an integral role in achieving this vision,” said Dr Gunn, the group chief nursing officer for Burjeel Holdings.

Dr Gunn has more than 25 years of nursing experience and also served as the chief nursing officer at Al Dhafra Hospitals, managing numerous healthcare facilities and primary care clinics across the country.

“As a nursing leader, I am proud to work towards elevating the quality of care, developing the nursing workforce, and contributing to the country’s healthcare excellence,” Dr Gunn underlined.

Michelle Gunn
Michelle Gunn

Work-life balance

Elena Bordei, an assistant nurse manager at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi for more than 11 years, pointed out the significance of maintaining a professional-personal life balance.

“Balancing the demands of the emergency department in hospitals with a fulfilling personal life requires a commitment to continuous development. Over the 11 years of my career, I’ve learned the importance of mental resilience and work-life balance and how crucial it is for nurses to prioritise self-care amidst the intensity of our roles,” she said.

Highlighting the support for professional development at the hospital, she noted: “A holistic approach to development not only enriches our careers but also nurtures a sense of fulfilment in both our professional and personal lives.”

Elena Bordei
Elena Bordei

Sense of fulfilment

Juvy Almazan, outpatient department team lead at Healthpoint, said that nursing is a calling of dedication, sacrifice, and an unwavering commitment to serving others.

“Being a nurse is a journey filled with challenges, triumphs, and profound moments of connection. It is a profession where every day brings new experiences from comforting patients in their darkest hours to celebrating milestones of recovery. The life of a nurse is one of continuous learning, compassion, and resilience as we navigate the complexities of healthcare with empathy and skill. Despite the long hours and emotional demands, being a nurse offers incomparable rewards like a sense of purpose, fulfilment, and opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those you care for,” Juvy underlined.

Juvy Almazan
Juvy Almazan


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