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Proceedings the 1st ICN Regional Conference 2018

Nurses: A voice to lead
Ensuring access to health care through leadership, innovation,
and collaborative practice


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Emirates Nursing Association (ENA)

An association is a body to which the people from a profession and the society members can relate. It also represents the unity and strength of a profession. National nurses associations are duly constituted, self-governing, multi-purpose voluntary bodies founded and inaugurated by the professions visionaries; developed by strong enlightened leadership and supported, strengthened and perpetuated by committed membership (ICN, 1998). In the past Nursing was considered part of physicians association and the EMA (Emirates Medical Association) was in existence since 1980’s. Currently other professionals (i.e.: Radiologist, Lab.) in the UAE don’t have separate associations but in most developed countries professional associations exist and are representative of the profession. 

The start of any journey is difficult and tedious.  The dream to establish a UAE Nurses Association was seen by all the national nurses in the workforce in the year 1972.  It was not pursued further because of the small number of national nurses at that time.   Nursing in those days was not fully recognized. National women had just starting working.  The idea of a professional organization for nurses was postponed until there were more nurses to represent the workforce. 

 The main hurdles for setting up the association were 

  • To establish a temporary board for the association 
  • To introduce the idea and decide about the acceptance of national nurses 
  • To centralize and develop the idea of forming a nursing association in UAE  

The first step was taken during the 3rd Ministry Of Health Nursing Initiatives Symposium on May 14, 2000 in Abu Dhabi where it was decided that there would be an official Nursing Association.  In 2001, a forum was organized by the Federal Department of Nursing at the Ministry of Health. More than 150 Emirati nurses and other interested non-Emirati nurses participated in this forum and agreed upon a plan to establish a professional nursing association in UAE. Founding members of the nursing associations in Bahrain and Kuwait were invited to share their countries experiences. The Chair of the Emirates Medical Association also participated and provided support and insights into the local UAE setting regarding establishing a professional association.  

The Association was officially founded on 2001 when Dr Fatima Al Rifae invited a number of nurses to meet and discuss the possibility of founding an organization for nurses. From that meeting, a number of UAE nurses who had volunteered and registered their names were invited to attend another meeting in Dubai – Ministry of Health (MOH) where the temporary board for the association was established as well as the name and its abbreviation was decided.  Fourteen members and one observer were chosen.  Several dedicated and committed UAE national nurses worked as volunteers.