The launch of the pain awareness campaign and the introduction of the intravenous (IV) therapy team has resulted in improved quality of life and more positive health outcomes for paediatric patients and their families, a senior Qatari nursing official from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) said.

Assistant Executive Director of Corporate Nursing at HMC, and former Director of Nursing for the five-year HMC SickKids Partnership Project, Ms Mariam Al Mutawa, said the pain awareness campaign has been among the most effective programs aimed at changing perceptions of healthcare staff and patients’ families, about recognising and managing pain in children.

Ms Al Mutawa noted:

The ambition of our pain awareness campaign was to change attitudes toward dealing with pain in children, specifically in homes where the pain goes unrecognised because parents are dismissive of initial symptoms. Many medical conditions in children go undetected until they are discovered at a later stage because of a failure to understand children’s pain.’

According to Ms Al Mutawa, the launch of the awareness campaign has stimulated a shift in staff and public attitudes.  She said:

This has been possible due to the ongoing training of our paediatric nursing staff and other multidisciplinary team members. They have become passionate advocates for children’s pain awareness and also the education of families to recognise pain-related symptoms and implement simple techniques to manage their child’s pain.’

In addition to raising awareness within hospitals, Ms Al Mutawa and her colleagues, collaboratively with Kulluna – a national, health and safety, public awareness campaign, founded by HMC’s Hamad International Training Centre (HITC) and Conoco Phillips Qatar – have also visited various malls in Qatar to provide education to a wider section of the public about children’s pain management.

Speaking about the Intravenous (IV) Therapy Team, Ms Al Mutawa said that this highly-skilled nursing group has been one of the most important new additions to children’s healthcare services in recent years. HGH now has a dedicated team of highly specialized nursing professionals who are available round-the-clock to provide this service. The team uses a number of techniques to make the procedure swift, including play therapy which helps in distracting children’s attention during the process of IV insertion.

Mariam Al Mutawa HMC

She said:

It is very difficult to have children undergo intravenous (performed by way of a vein) insertion for different kinds of treatment and our efforts are guided by a commitment to provide the safest, most effective and most compassionate care to each and every one of our patients.’

Part of HMC’s endeavours to enhance the quality of healthcare services offered to children has been the ongoing training and development of paediatric nursing staff. Ms Al Mutawa, with the support of her colleagues, has taken the lead in organising annual paediatric nursing leadership symposiums in recent years.

Ms Al Mutawa said:

Nursing is the backbone of any clinical organisation and we realise that since nurses work as direct caregivers, it is fundamental to provide them with a platform where they have the opportunity to gain advanced knowledge from world-renowned experts. The annual conferences take this idea further and encourage nursing professionals to understand how they can be leaders in their daily practice.’

Ms Al Mutawa explained that there are several opportunities for HMC nursing staff to hone their skills and drive improvements in nursing practices, citing her experience with the Leadership for Change (LFC) program as an example. The LFC program is jointly offered under a partnership between the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Council of Nurses, the Supreme Council of Health (SCH), HMC and Primary Health Care Corporation. Qatar is the sixth country in the Middle East region to implement the program.

Ms Al Mutawa is among the graduates of the year-long training program that aims to develop the skills of nurses, empower them to influence policy and health system improvements and prepare them to contribute to ongoing leadership and management development programs.

Ms Al Mutawa said:

To me, leadership is the main element behind every successful organisation. Leaders are the key players for any changes and improvements to the system. I was privileged to enrol in the LFC program that brought together nursing leaders from all over Qatar and provided us with an opportunity to network and exchange our experiences with each other and collaboratively think of sustainable solutions to some of the challenges in nursing.’

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