Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH) in London, one of the world’s leading paediatric hospitals, treats over 5,000 children every year from over 80 countries around the world. GOSH endeavours to provide an open and supportive atmosphere for patients and their families and to achieve this the hospital runs regular Understanding Arabic Culture Study Days for staff. These are run in partnership with University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
This May, GOSH ran the course again for fifty staff from across the hospital, including nurses, consultants and administrative staff. Trevor Clarke, Director of International Services explains “We understand that travelling overseas for treatment can be a stressful and difficult time, and we strive to make sure that our patients and their families are as comfortable as possible. We therefore believe it is essential for our staff to undertake training to facilitate this. We are delighted to continue working with the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies to provide this course for our staff.”
There were two speakers on the day: Jonathan Fryer, a freelance writer, lecturer at SOAS and broadcaster who has worked for the BBC and Middle Eastern television channels, and Dr Alanoud Al Sharekh, a researcher on youth and gender demographics, GCC security, bi-cultural trends and a specialist on Arab Feminist Theory as well as a Research Associate at SOAS.
Jonathan offered an in depth look at the historical, political and religious backdrop of the region which was informed by his first-hand knowledge from working and living in the area. He began with a brief overview of the history and geography of the Arabian Gulf and then an explanation of the Five Pillars of Islam, followed by a Q&A session.
Jonathan commented, "Dealing with patients and families from other cultural traditions can lead to misunderstandings and unintentionally giving offence, so I was happy to share some of my experiences from working in and with the Gulf over the past 25 years. It was great to have people from many different departmentsat GOSH and there was lots of lively discussion."
Dr. Alanoud offered a more detailed look into the societal and cultural conventions of the region, before running an informative discussion with staff about the differences between healthcare in the UK and Kuwait, and the expectations families from the Middle East might have when visiting the hospital. “I think patients from the Arabian Gulf would appreciate the nuanced approach Great Ormond Street Hospital is taking to ensure that this difficult period is handled with compassion and cultural tolerance.” Dr Alanoud says.
Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital (GOSH) in London is a world-class centre of excellence with over 50 different paediatric specialities and 300 world-leading consultants under one roof. Through pioneering translational research, GOSH provides cutting-edge treatment for the rarest and most complex paediatric conditions. GOSH is rated as one of the top 5 children’s hospitals in the world.