The celebration included a fashion show prepared and performed by HSON students themselves of AUB nurse uniforms over the past 110 years.
One hundred and eleven years ago, Mary Bliss Dale, the oldest daughter of AUB founder Daniel Bliss, and Jane Elizabeth Van Zandt founded the Nursing School the Syrian Protestant College, today the American University of Beirut. Today, the Rafic Hariri School of Nursing (HSON) celebrates decades of achievement and pledges commitment to its mission “to promote and maintain the highest educational standards of excellence, integrity, and professionalism in nursing.”
The Rafic Hariri School of Nursing held a celebration of its long history within AUB’s 150 years to date in the presence of AUB and AUBMC faculty, students, staff, alumni, as well as members of the Order of Nursing in Lebanon and HSON partners in Lebanon. Invited to speak were Dr. Anne Marie Rafferty, Professor of Nursing Policy at the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College London who spoke about investing in nurse education for better healthcare; Dr. Nuhad Dumit, President of the Order of Nurses in Lebanon who spoke about historical developments of the Lebanese Order of Nurses; and AUB Interim Associate Provost, Dr. Nadia El Cheikh, who spoke about women at AUB from 1905-47.
Director of HSON, Dr. Huda Huijer took the audience on a journey through 110 years of nursing education at AUB, alluding to the dedication and sacrifice the school of nursing faculty had demonstrated at AUB throughout the civil war, as they continued to work at AUB, sleeping in corridors and keeping in line with the mission of the school.
Dr. Huijer paid tribute to all the school directors as well as the visions, achievements, and accreditations earned over the years. The Hariri School of Nursing ranks 149 out of 503 nursing schools offering graduate programs and accounts for 85% of Lebanon’s and 14% of the Arab world’s nursing research output. Pointing out that the school has the highest number of PhD holder faculty, the highest number of research projects, and the highest publication rate in Lebanon, Dr. Huijer asserts that “the journey continues”.
“The school has always been a leader in nursing education in Lebanon and the region and we are going for a lot more by launching a collaborative PhD program in Nursing Science, the first of its kind in the Arab world,” Dr. Huijer told us. “We have excellent faculty and superb students. We started in 1905 and we will continue onward with this journey.”
Keynote speaker, Dr. Anne Marie Rafferty, Professor of Nursing Policy at King’s College London is a historian and a health services researcher. She spoke to the audience about the history of the nursing profession and the evolution of nursing education programs around the world, highlighting the importance of scaling up education, training, and supporting need-based skills in this field. To Dr. Rafferty, a “radical upgrade of the profession” was due “from graduate policy to post-graduate career pathways”.
“This school has a very impressive and distinguished track record within AUB. It has been leading developments and building capacity across the Arab world; it has done this through hard times and good times; and it has had one of the longest standing histories of nursing education in the world,” Dr. Rafferty told us.
A message by President Fadlo Khuri reaffirmed the principal role of nursing within the University’s mission and its contribution to the community.
“Nurses are the basis of the care we provide our patients in good times and bad. Their education, research on the care they provide and administer, and their determination to make a difference to those less fortunate – provide the basis for all that we aspire to do as a community of care providers,” he said.
“Today – as in every day – the faculty of HSON and the nurses of the AUBMC provide the quality, consistency, dedication, and resilience that will help make AUB an even greater university in the next 150 years than it has been over its first 150 years.”
The celebration included a Sigma Theta Tau Chi Iota Chapter honor society induction ceremony and wrapped up with a flash mob singing performance cheering for nurses around the world and a fashion show prepared and performed by HSON students themselves of AUB nurse uniforms over the past 110 years.
In her final remarks, Dr. Huijer said “the men and women associated with HSON today share the dedication of the school’s founders, Mary Bliss Dale and Jane Elizabeth Van Zandt, and a commitment to the mission of the school: ‘to promote and maintain the highest educational standards of excellence, integrity, and professionalism in nursing’.
All presentations from the event can be accessed on here.