Over recent decades, the Middle East has seen bloodshed from violence and unrest between different ethnic groups and religions. Medical care and emergency aid are in ever-increasing demand to save many lives in critical situations. The UK-based international Christian charity BibleLands, which founded the only nursing school in Israel to train nurses to work in Arab communities, finally fulfilled its plans to upgrade the 80-year-old school recently.
Nazareth Nursing School is based at the Christian-run Nazareth Hospital. BibleLands, which has supported the School of Nursing financially since 1970, launched a two-year appeal for the school in July 2003 in the run-up to the start of the charity’s 150th anniversary celebrations on 9 October 2004 in London. Till now, a fund of L335, 000 has been raised.
The fund is expected to go to equipping the school with better facilities, so that more professional nursing training can be provided. New computers and the latest hi-tech training facilities are expected to be added. It will enable an extra 50 degree-qualified nurses to graduate each year.
Nancy Vreaq, 19, is now in her second year of study at the school. When the foundation stone for a new L600,000 purpose-built School of Nursing was laid in Nazareth, she reflected deeply on the desperate needs to improve the schools.
"We study in two rooms which are not on the same level of the hospital and because we don’t have air conditioning it is hard to concentrate in the summer and we have to go home early," says Nancy. "It will also be great to have our own computers when the school opens. Currently, all 144 students have to share one computer."
The new school will include six lecture rooms, laboratories and a medical library and is the first part of an ambitious plan to create a multi-disciplinary nursing and paramedical training centre in Nazareth that will eventually train physiotherapists and occupational and speech therapists. To be completed in 2005, it should solve all the current problems connected to overcrowding.
Another nursing student said, "The School of Nursing in Nazareth is a unique and vital training facility which will ultimately ensure that the healthcare of thousands will be significantly improved in the future."
The nursing school is Christian based, therefore everything will be taught from a Christian viewpoint. It is however open to all people, both male and female, without any racial, ethnic or religious constraints.
"The aim in not to convert the Muslim nurses," claims the Chief Executive of Nazareth Hospital, Derek Thomson, "but provide them with the opportunity to escape the more rigorous controls of Islam by giving them a transferable skill. In essence the ministry of the Nazareth School of Nursing and Hospital is to be present. We are here to serve."
"Nazareth Nursing School has a very good name," testifies Nancy. "The staff teach at a very high standard and are like Jesus in the help and support they give the students."
BibleLands Director Nigel Edward-Few says of the advent of the new School, "It is momentous that the new foundation stone has been laid now because this year also sees the first intake of degree-course students at the school graduate."
"Many will be employed at the Nazareth Hospital, but many will also work in primary health care programmes in the local community- an increasingly vital area of medical work, as travel restrictions and difficulties mean that many sick people are unable to reach hospitals."
BibleLands also works in partnership with some 60 local Christian-led projects in the fields of education, social care, special needs, medical care, vocational and adult training, and the support and care of refugees.
BibleLands Fund Nursing School in Middle East
"It is momentous that the new foundation stone has been laid now because this year also sees the first intake of degree-course students at the school graduate."
By: Eunice K.Y. Or
Wednesday, 22 December 2004, 10:42 (EST)