Q&A with Julia Elsisy, BSN Accelerated Career Entry (ACE) ‘07 - Dubai
September 11, 2014
Q: Hi, Julia! Tell us about where
you work. How did you find your way to that role?
A: I am currently the Senior Staff
Nurse at the American Hospital in Dubai.
My responsibilities are really that of an Assistant Manager and Educator.
How did I find my way . . . with a lot
of bumps! Nursing is really a
culmination of my whole life. As a
musician, newspaper publisher, and mother, I have found that all my skills are utilized. And, of
course, nursing is just fun!
Q: What brought you from the United States to the
United Arab Emirates?
A: I recently got
married and my husband is Egyptian American, but his family still lives in Egypt.
I thought it would be nice to live closer to them, so I could get to know the
culture and his family. And I figured that since I was still relatively young,
why not?! This is an adventure of a
Q: What are some of the core responsibilities of your
A: As Senior Staff Nurse,
I am basically an assistant manager of the department. I oversee the staffing and education of the
nurses and healthcare assistants. I have come into this job during a period of
intense change, as we are merging the Urgent Care Clinic and the Emergency
Room, so my responsibilities are two-fold: to ensure a smooth transition and to educate
the Urgent Care Nurses to be Emergency Room Nurses. It’s quite a challenge as
the ER has been neglected over the past few years. We have a lot of work to do.
I have introduced an actual Triage class and am currently
designing and implementing an Emergency Room Nurse Class. Working closely with
the ER doctors and UCC doctors, we are in the process of submitting a proposal
to change our Triage System from the Canadian
Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) to the Emergency Severity Index 5-level
Triage evaluation system. We are also introducing Shared Governance and Jean Watson’s
human caring theory as the basis for practice in the ER and proposing it for
the whole hospital. And I’ve started all this in just under eight weeks! It’s
extremely challenging but I love a good challenge!
Q: What aspects of your Drexel education are you
infusing into that work? Are there any lessons you’ve carried with you that are
making a particular difference?
A: Drexel provided me
with the core values that I always carry with me, especially to be a patient advocate! The nursing
critical thinking skills I learned during my time as an ACE student have
enabled me to advance faster, and the support I have always gotten from the
professors and administration at the College of Nursing and Health Professions continue
to give me the belief that I can accomplish anything.
Q: How does nursing in Dubai compare to the
nursing profession in the United States? What’s similar and what’s different?
A: Well you can throw HIPPA out the window; privacy means
something entirely different here. A patient cannot come into a hospital
thinking that what he or she tells the doctor is private. Families are more
involved here in that they make the decisions for the patients and many times
we are forbidden to even discuss the patient’s diagnosis with the patient
themselves. Also there is no such thing as a “Do not resuscitate” (DNR) or
advanced directives. But nurses are nurses no matter where you go. Yes there are
rules and regulations, but it’s how you adapt and change that makes the
difference. You always remember that your patients come first!
Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: Can I answer everything? I guess because it is such a
challenge right now and I have the opportunity to make so many changes that
will bring about better patient care, it makes the job thoroughly exciting.
Q: Tell us about life in Dubai!
What do you like about living and working there?
A: Dubai is hot and humid and very expensive! I will say
that knowing that this was just a desert in 1972 and seeing it as a thriving
metropolis in 2014 is mind blowing! We had a tour of the Dubai Museum as part
of our hospital orientation and they have an entire section on how they
desalinate the water from the Persian Gulf to provide water and electricity for
Dubai. It’s truly fascinating.
Living in Dubai is like living in any major metropolis in
the world: busy, busy, busy! It’s 90% expatriates
living here, from Western countries, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, India,
and Pakistan, just to name a few. Only about 10% of the population here is actually
Emirati! So it’s kind of like living in New York, Philadelphia, or Washington, D.C. . . . just hotter!
Q: What advice do you have for students or new
graduates who are beginning their careers?
A: When I first
graduated from Drexel’s ACE Program, I came back and guest lectured for a few
semesters on what to expect and how to make it through the first year.
First and foremost remember you have to have a balance
between your work and your home life. Take care of yourself! Second, the HESI
and NCLEX aren’t the end of the world . . . they are just the beginning!
Next, choose the right hospital or organization. Being
part of a great team can make all the difference in the world. When you go in for your interview, remember
you are interviewing them as well. Do you see yourself as part of this team?
How do the nurses work together? How do the nurses and doctors work together?
And remember that the heart can heal! The interactions you
have now with your co-workers, patients and families will affect you later.
Your patients can get to your heart and yours to theirs if you let them in. And
know that even on your worst day, you are making a difference.
Q: Is there anything else you want to leave with
A: I came up with a
catchy slogan for the Nursing Department at Hahnemann Hospital before I left
and it really does hold true for ALL nurses no matter who or where we are:
“We do because we can . . . We can because we care . . . We care
because it’s who we are!”