The inhabitants of the Gaza Strip are very vulnerable. Between 2006 and 2014, Gaza Strip was the target for four Israeli offensives. The last offensive in 2014 was the worst as it continued for 51 days. According to OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), 2014) the war left 2,205 deaths and 10,895 wounded (Palestinian center for Human Rights, 2014). The influx of this huge number of casualties into the different hospitals in the Gaza Strip was a great challenge to the health care providers, especially nurses. To provide accurate and safe health care services to the people of Gaza, there should be highly qualified and well-trained healthcare providers, including nurses. Because of the complicated situation in the Gaza Strip, there is a severe shortage in equipment, medication, and medical supplies. Moreover, because of the inability of the nurses to travel outside the Gaza Strip, there are not enough well-trained nurses to work in critical care areas such as intensive care units and coronary care units. Therefore, one of the fields that Gaza Strip needs badly is having well-trained critical care nurses to work in different acute care departments.
Critical care nursing is a specialty, which exists to care for patients who are experiencing life-threatening health crises. Aided by sophisticated technology, nursing the critically ill patient is continuous and intensive. The challenge of the work, the required level of knowledge and critical thinking all play a role, which contributes to saving lives. Working in a critical care area requires a strong knowledge base in hemodynamics, technical skills and critical thinking skills, and they all contribute to your professional and personnel satisfaction.
The critical care nurse, works collaboratively within the inter-professional team, and is responsible for coordinating patient care using each member’s unique talents and scope of practice to meet patient and family needs. The critically ill patient must be cared for with an appreciation of his or her wholeness, integrity, and relation to family and environment. Critical care nurses plan, coordinate and implement care with the health care team to meet the physical, psychosocial, cultural and spiritual needs of the patients and their families. The critical care nurse must balance the need for the technological environment with the need for safety, privacy, dignity and comfort. Critical care nurses are at the forefront of critical care science and technology. Lifelong learning and the spirit of enquiry are essential for the critical care nurse to enhance professional competencies and to advance nursing practice. The critical care nurse’s ability to make sound clinical nursing judgments is based on a solid foundation of knowledge and experience.
This program is designed to provide nurses with critical care skills to enable them to work in different areas of critical care such as Intensive Care Units (Surgical, medical, neurological, cardiac care units, burn units, and emergency rooms) and emergency department. These skills are very important for nurses to have during the time of COVID-19 where too many patients now are in bad need for critical care and the number of patients admitted to ICUs are much higher than other days.
The aim of the program is based on the Palestinian national goal mentioned by Accreditation and Quality Assurance Commission, which is to “is to raise standards in Critical Care Nursing (CCN) on a national level and meet the health practice setting needs”
Therefore, this Professional Diploma of Critical Care nursing is designed to prepare nurses to meet contemporary challenges in the specialist field of critical care nursing and to progressively build upon knowledge and skills required to comprehensively care for critically ill patients with an ultimate goal of improving the quality of health care provided to Palestinian patients.
The program responds to the demands of the Palestinian Health Care system where there is a need for trained nurses with sophisticated specialty skills and knowledge. This is very obvious at the current time of COVID-19. The number of patients who are in need for intensive care are very high and the demand for trained nurses to work at the ICU is very obvious. The aim of the program is also congruent with the philosophy of Islamic university and it is congruent with the goal and objectives the ministry of higher education.
Objectives of the program
- Provide an advanced educational experience, which will develop the student’s intellectual and imaginative abilities in order to facilitate the development of independent judgement and problem-solving skills
- Provide an educational framework that will encourage the student to develop her/his skills of analysis and critical awareness in order to stimulate an enquiring and creative approach to both the theory and practice of critical care nursing.
- Develop the student’s ability to respond to changing needs in critical care in an analytical way during challenging and dynamic situation in the Gaza Strip
- Use advanced skills and specialized knowledge to continuously assess, monitor and manage critically-ill patients for the promotion of optimal physiological and psychological balance
- Promote and facilitate optimal comfort and well-being in a highly technological environment that is often unfamiliar to patients and families.
- Foster mutually constructive partnerships with patients and families based on trust, dignity, respect, communication and collaboration.
- Participate in safety initiatives and adhere to best practice when providing care in a high-risk environment.
- Support patients and families and support their decision through the transition from active treatment to a peaceful death when life sustaining technologies are no longer beneficial.
- Provide leadership by fostering a critical care culture conducive to collaboration, quality improvement, safety, professional growth and responsible resource utilization.
- Prepare students to deal with COVID-19 patients and how to protect themselves from getting the infection.
- Prepare students to work in a very stressful work condition imposed on health care system by the COVID-19 pandemic
- Provide emotional and psychological support for COVID-19 patients and their families.
Appropriate selection of candidates for the professional diploma of critical care nursing program that gives equal opportunities is one of the important issues to the success of the program. The criteria for selection must support the goals of the program.
Students are admitted to the Professional Diploma of critical care nursing according to the Academic Rule with the following criteria:
- Completion of BS nursing from a recognized university with minimum average good.
- Hold a valid nursing license in Palestine.
- Should be proficient in English.
- Passing the selection examination.
The program graduates could be able work in variety of settings, in acute work setting such as:
- Intensive Care Units (medical, surgical, and neurological units).
- Coronary Care Units
- Emergency Department
- Burn units
- Neonatal intensive care units.