18 Mar 2007

PR# 2007-196

Nursing students graduate from Qalat PRT

QALAT, Afghanistan –The future looks promising for the graduates who successfully completed the year-long course at the Qalat Provincial Reconstruction Team’s Nursing Assistance Program on March 15.  They will all be given jobs at the Zabul Provincial Hospital (ZPH) upon passing an exam given by the Ministry of Public Health. 

The twelve graduates attended a ceremony held at the PRT in their honour. They received a diploma, a lab coat, a blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope to kick off their careers in the nursing field. 

Sadiq Ullah, the spokesman for the graduates, said the class wasn’t easy academically, nor was it easy when it came to dealing with enemy insurgents who disapproved of working with ISAF and coalition forces. 

“We are really grateful to the PRT for this training the last 12 months,” Ullah said. “They’ve given us vocational training that we’re very happy about. We had 23 students originally, but we were threatened by elements of the anti-government movement. Despite those threats, the 12 of us kept coming and kept studying.”

The PRT’s chief medical officer, Lt. Col. Christopher Scharenbrock, said the students now all have the knowledge base to proceed with their careers, but must continue studying to provide the best medical care possible. 

“You can be very proud,” Scharenbrock told the students. “The profession of nursing is just that – being a professional. Even when you’re tired and want to go home, a professional still cares about his job and can be trusted. I count on a nurse to be my eyes, my ears and to help take care of the patients for me.”

The students’ desire and demeanor when the class first began in March of 2006 was nonchalant and too casual, Scharenbrock said. However, the seriousness and importance of what they were undertaking created a metamorphosis in their behavior, he added.

“As the year went on and I saw your behavior at the clinical assessments, I saw that you realized how important this job was and you’ve gotten serious. The medical staff from Zabul is looking forward to your arrival,” Scharenbrock said.

That sentiment was echoed by Zabul Province’s Public Health Director, Dr. Mohammad Hashim Alokozai, when he assured the graduates that ZPH needs them.

“With the skills you have learned, I need you here in Zabul Province,” Alokozai said. “I will give you a job as a nursing assistant in ZPH. You have to be punctual and you always have to study. Nursing is a very responsible job because you have a lot of patients to care for and people depend on you.”

The graduates are due to sit for their exam within a couple of weeks.  Should they be successful, they could all be employed by May.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/