United for a better healthcare system
LAU professor Myrna Abi Abdallah-Doumit represents Lebanon in discussions on the future pan-Arab nursing certificate.
Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of the School of Nursing Myrna Abi Abdallah-Doumit is on the front lines of representing Lebanon — and LAU — on a scientific committee that is set to enhance the quality of care in the entire Arab region.
“It was an honor for me to see my accomplishments recognized and to be representing Lebanon and LAU,” she says. The committee, which unites representatives of thirteen Arab countries, is in the process of developing a common curriculum that will allow for a standardized level of preparation across the Middle East.
“This will give nurses the opportunity to practice in other Arab countries without facing any problem when it comes to the recognition of their academic diplomas, as well as provide a guarantee of quality service,” Doumit says.
The committee met in Amman in May 2015, following a decision taken during the 41st meeting of Arab Ministers of Health. Doumit was chosen by Lebanon’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education, and is joined in her efforts by another Lebanese representative selected by the Ministry of Health.
Doumit has twenty-five years of experience in academic nursing and a diploma in educational management and leadership. She is the author of pioneering qualitative research studies focusing on cancer patients and is currently finalizing a soon-to-be-published study on the motives behind Lebanese women’s reticence towards mammography.
Given her expertise both in nursing and education, Doumit was elected vice president of the committee by acclamation and succeeded in pushing forward community nursing as one of the two topics to be prioritized.
“Many of those who are sick are not in hospitals,” she explains. “Community care nursing is one of the main things we lack in Arab countries, and the World Health Organization itself included it in the latest recommendations.”
In addition to community care, sub-committees are currently discussing the emergency-nursing program. “The topics we chose to prioritize reflect the reality of our region, torn apart by wars and armed conflicts,” says Doumit.
Adhering institutions will not only have to comply with the academic curriculum delineated by the committee, but also provide simulation labs and other advanced technical resources. Faculty members will be trained to teach their subject of expertise according to the new program. As such an ambitious goal needs resources, the Arab University of Cairo and the Republic of Iraq have generously contributed to funding the first steps of the project.
According to Doumit, the new curriculum will bring the Arab world closer to western standards of healthcare and offer local practitioners the opportunity to acquire distinguished accreditation. Its goal will also be to shift the attention of nursing care towards primary prevention, key in the early discovery of diseases.
“The Alice Ramez Chagoury School of Nursing has only been active since 2010,” says Doumit, “yet we are already in the front rows of historical moments of change.”