THE MUSLIM WOMAN AND THE NURSING PROFESSION
Nurse Ameenah Qasim
Nursing is one of the professions most suitable for a Muslim woman. It requires the acquisition of rare and exceptional skills needed for prevention of illness, promotion of health and restoration of health to all categories of individual. It is a profession that will earn you rewards while fending for your daily income.
In an ideal Islamic environment, the care for clients needing help regarding health should be segregated i.e. male to male, and female to female. However, in a case where there’s an emergency, it’s is permissible for a female to treat a male or vice versa. This is evident during the life of the Prophet (S.A.W.) where Rufydah Al-asmiyyah used to take care of the injured during the wars. Later on, she had a tent in front of the mosque where she took care of the sick and injured. She participated in a lot of charity and community programmes.
As a Muslim nurse, it is your duty to consciously assume the responsibility of establishing the intrinsic values of the profession, while maintaining your modesty and intrinsic values of your faith.
As beautiful as the nursing profession is, it has been made uncomfortable for the Muslim woman in recent times due to its modern fundamentals being drawn out of the western culture. Take for example, the uniforms in most public health institutions are Islamically unfit, let alone the absence of hijab.
Free mixing is another notable pitfall. We find ourselves in situations where we carry out procedures such as bed baths amidst many others on male clients. Although, Rufaydah cared mainly for men during wars, but they were Muslims! I mean Muslims with high level of taqwah, who understands the principle of lowering the gaze. And our pious pioneer nurse was always on jilbab while rendering this care.
The implication of this is that if care is not taken, your modesty and shyness will be lost. Therefore, A Muslim woman who is a nurse must increase in recurrent remembrance of Allah. And also taking time to remind herself that she carries out those activities only because they were essential for the health of the client. The boundaries should be set, casual engagement outside work that involves activities such as shaking hands, touching of all forms and other relating attitudes should be frowned at.
It is also very important that an aspect of nursing a client is helping them grow spiritually. (one of the components of Virginia Henderson Theory).
A Muslim nurse therefore, takes it as a responsibility to assist bedridden clients, and encouraging the ambulating ones to perform Solat. It can be very challenging, but with patience and perseverance, such a feat can be achieved.
It is not disputable that more men are needed to take up the nursing career to makeup a balance in the gender disproportion the profession is currently suffering. Or isn’t it hypocritical that the same person who zoned Nursing as a female profession was the one crying out when female nurses attended to him during hospitalization?.
In conclusion, Nursing is a beautiful profession suitable enough for a Muslim woman who’s ready to fight all cons and maintain her dignity as a nurse and as a Muslimah. Existing Muslim nurses also need to be involved in all ramifications of development in relation to the profession, such that major decisions are not taken behind us, as we are just a tiny faction of the profession. I mean there were so many decisions that could have changed if only a representative was present when they were made.