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October - Be the Change

Be the Change

By  Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Krista Maddox


“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

At an early age Mohammad Othman knew that he wanted to be a health care provider. He had his work cut out for him to achieve his dream of providing healthcare for a living. Though Othman’s family is from Jordan he was born and raised in Saudi Arabia where his father was an educator. Such an arrangement made his educational opportunities in health care very limited. Despite the fact that he was wholly educated in Saudi Arabia he had to return to Jordan and compete for a very limited number of seats in the two medical schools in Jordan. Only 5 percent of the seats were available to those who were educated outside of Jordan. This realization forced Othman to take a look at what was at the root of his career aspirations in health care. It was then that Othman realized that he could achieve his dreams of working with patients as a nurse. Shortly after he applied and was admitted to nursing school in Jordan. By his third year in his nursing program Othman realized that he could do more for his patients as a nurse than he ever realized. 

Nursing in Jordan is very different than in the United States in that Jordanian nurses are much more limited in the care that they provide to their patients than nurses in the U.S. While nurses in both Jordan and the United States are educated to think critically, evaluating and assessing their patients to make decisions about their care, Jordanian views enforced by hospital policies and expected roles of physicians and nurses creates a disconnect between education and practice. Othman observed that almost all of the text books used in his nursing program were written in the United States. Additionally, the nursing curriculum and syllabi were all based on U.S. nursing programs. As such, despite the intensive training in BSN programs the independent and often interdependent nursing roles are not emphasized or encouraged as part of the education nor were they allowed in practice due to cultural norms. Much work is necessary for the education of Jordanian nurses to be fully realized in practice. That observation sparked an idea that flamed into a dream. Othman asked a trusted nursing faculty member if they felt that he had the capacity to eventually come to the United States to study nursing. That faculty member provided the motivation through their positive response that Othman now looks back on and credits as the beginning of his journey to the United States. His journey brought him to the University of Cincinnati as a student in the PhD program. It is here that he hopes to learn to become a nurse educator to bridge the gap between education and practice in Jordan.

“It all can and should start from nursing schools. The complete message should be delivered and emphasized to the students by educators so they can start painting the bright picture. Once completed, the world will start to look, and will look differently this time. This will be the moment when the sun of the changed day that we’ve always waited for rises,” says Othman.

Othman is in his second year of the PhD program. While he is inundated with reading current literature and being pushed to think on a higher level through many group discussions with his classmates in the classroom he has also found opportunities to begin cultivate his nurse educator skills. Othman served as a teaching assistant in the Success in College and Nursing courses last year and is now serving as a nursing lab assistant. Both opportunities have given him glimpses of how to educate future nurses.  

“Nothing is impossible. Keep an eye on the goal. If you work hard you will eventually be there,” says Othman.

Othman credits his many support systems for his success thus far and for supporting him in this dream of changing nursing in Jordan. His family and friends are very supportive of him as are the faculty and staff with whom he works while in the PhD program. It is through this support and his strong faith that he is inspired to forge forward. He has his eye on the goal of changing nursing in Jordan. As he continues to work hard to achieve that goal, he will assuredly be the change that he hopes to one day see.  

Mohammad Othman