Vale course is cancer lifeline
Palestinian nurses who have never left their home country travelled to Alexandria recently to find out more about pioneering cancer treatments.
Oncology nurse Gerry O’Hare, who is based at the Vale of Leven Hospital, was instrumental in setting up the post-graduate diploma with the University of Bethlehem.
And four nurses from Palestine made the trip over here to learn vital skills they will use in their careers.
For some of the students it was the first time they had ever left their home country and the trip saw them spend their time at the Alexandria hospital learning from Gerry.
He has spent years working with the University of Bethlehem on the grant programme and had a leading role in developing the curriculum of the diploma.
The 55-year-old has been a fundamental part of the efforts to educate nurses who have severely limited access to education materials.
He returned to Palestine on a number of visits to the university in the lead-up to the launch of the diploma last year.
Gerry said: “The last two weeks have been a great learning opportunity for the four visiting nurses. Our links with Palestine are well established and based on a shared goal of achieving the best treatment possible for patients.
“Another way we help support the diploma programme is through video conferencing, which allows us to teach students from here in Scotland.
“As well as learning a great deal about oncology nursing practices, they have also had a taste of Scottish culture, visiting Loch Katrine, going to a football match, museums and a fundraising event.
“I am proud that NHSGGC and the wider community in Glasgow are helping others in such a humanitarian way.”
Students Khitam Harb, 33, and 26-year-old Dana Nur hailed the trip a “wonderful experience.”
Khitam, who had never been on a plane before, said: “This trip is like a dream for me. I am so glad to be learning here in Scotland.”
Palliative care nurse Dana added: “It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to travel and learn how other parts of the world care for cancer patients.
“The opportunity to come to Scotland is fabulous. I can’t actually believe it is happening.
“Having access to this diploma is a real privilege, not just for us but our patients and for Palestine as a whole. This is a dream come true for me and I am very grateful to everyone who has helped.”
Alongside Gerry, their visit was made possible through collaboration between NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Glasgow City Council, Medical Aid for Palestine and Spirit Aid, a charity set up by actor David Hayman.
This trip is a dream for me. It is a wonderful opportunity
Life savers Gerry O’Hare with Dana Nur and Khitam Harb