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Little is documented about nursing in this region until the emergence of Islam.

The First Nurse in Islam 

Many consider the first practicing nurse in the Arab world to be Rofaidah Al-Islamiah, whom Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) made responsible for treating and caring for the injured during the Islamic wars. Many more Muslim women followed in her footsteps.

In recognition of Rofeidah's role, the Arab Health Ministers' Council created the annual Award of Rofaidah Al-Islamiah in 1978, which celebrates nurse's excellence in Arab countries. 

Nursing Before the Federation

Expatriate nurses, mostly from the Indian continent, started arriving to the UAE from the early 1960s.

In 1961, several small facilities were offering basic healthcare services to the community in Sharjah, Ras Al-Khaimah and Dubai.

In 1962, a Canadian mission arrived and set up the Oasis Hospital in Al-Ain and by 1967, the first public hospital was opened in Abu Dhabi.

The Establishment of the Federation - 1971

Government structures and ministries were established including the Ministry of Health (MOH), which endeavored to develop the healthcare services in the UAE (MIC, 2001).

In 1975, the MOH and Civil Service Department prepared 'Law # 9 & 10" of Civil Service to attract more nurses into the profession, these Laws were reviewed again in 1982. Then in 1992: The Minister of Health issued Decree # 354, which established the Federal Department of Nursing (FDON) to manage nursing services in the UAE.