Western Sydney University has introduced the first branded hijab for clinical practice in Australia. This has been done together with resources to enhance awareness and support for Muslim Nursing and Midwifery students’Islamic beliefs when working in a clinical setting.
According to Ms Sue Willis, Director of Academic Programs (Clinical) at Western Sydney University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery and co-creator of the program, the initiative is about creating a supportive and engaging clinical learning experience.
“This Australian-first initiative closes a significant gap in available resources addressing the unique cultural and religious beliefs and requirements of Muslim Nursing and Midwifery students. They are designed to support students’ learning in an accepting and motivating environment which enhances their clinical experience,” said Ms Willis.
Co-creator of the program Dr Rakime Elmir, Deputy Director of Clinical Education at the University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, said the development of the branded hijab and resources involved collaboration across the University and broader community.
“As a Muslim, I knew it was vital that community spiritual leaders, the broader community, our students and staff all had the opportunity for input. This ensured that a balance could be achieved between equipping Muslim Nursing and Midwifery students with the skills and tools needed to be confident in the job, whilst encouraging the practice of their beliefs.”
The resources, which include guidelines and digital assets, are available to teaching staff, clinical facilitators and Muslim students. They address such issues as clinical uniform requirements, nursing care of different genders, bearing forearms to undertake aseptic hand wash and taking time from the clinical environment for prayer.
Dr Elmir says the introduction of the hijab as an optional part of a Muslim Nursing and Midwifery students’ clinical uniform has attracted a great deal of interest across the University. It is set to be introduced in other courses where there is a clinical component.
“The appetite for these resources was overwhelming. When we put a call out for a student discussion forum on this topic, more than 150 students registered – so there is clear support and interest for these resources,” said Dr Elmir.
Vice-Chancellor and President of Western Sydney University, Professor Barney Glover AO, said:
“Western Sydney University is one of the most culturally diverse universities in Australia. We are very proud to be the first university in Australia to introduce these resources. This reflects our strong commitment to promoting diversity, equity and inclusiveness, and providing a supportive learning and working environment for all.”
The University’s branded hijab is now available for all Western Sydney University students at on-campus Co-Op stores.