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Muslim Male Nurses: Bridging Cultural Divide in Healthcare

NEW YORK – More so than most professions, nursing requires a combination of professional expertise and individual ability to apply cultural relevancy.

Because of the continual shift to a more culturally plural society, diversity and inclusion is increasingly significant in the United States, where qualified nurses who can administer care with cultural sensitivity are especially important to the growing Muslim populations in the United States.

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“I enjoyed being able to use my strengths to help others. I wanted to be able do more, I wanted to learn more, and this led me into the field of nursing,” Ihsan Abdur-Rasheed, an American Muslim nurse, told AboutIslam.

Abdur-Rasheed acquired his RN nurse at the Helene Fuld School of Nursing and works in the field as a private provider attending to the needs of individuals in the privacy of their own homes.

As American society becomes increasingly diverse, the healthcare system will need diversify its professional resources. Muslim male nurses demonstrate the significance of inclusion.

According to the Nursing Times, “Nurses who understand the Muslim worldview and religious or cultural practices are better placed to provide person-centered care to Muslim patients without stereotyping.”

So, Muslim male nurses serve to not only increase diversity in the nursing field, but also offer a remedy to a lack of cultural relevancy that may affect quality of care.

Tawfiq Abdulaziz is another working nurse who has an associate’s degree in Applied Science with a concentration in Registered Nursing and his pursuing his Bachelors in Science of Nursing (BSN).

Both nurses attributed a desire to engage in human service to venturing into the field.

Abdulaziz explained that he sought a way to combine his philanthropy with his need to earn a living.

“I’ve always wanted to help people and also make a living for myself. Nursing is a very versatile field with many options,” Abdulaziz told AboutIslam.

When asked about the type of reactions they encounter from Muslims who learn about their profession, Abdulaziz and Abdur-Rasheed assert they receive positive support.

“Most of the responses have been positive and congratulatory for obtaining a career at my young age,” Abdulziz told About Islam.

“Overall the response is very positive because Muslims value the moral aspect of taking care of the sick and injured,” said Abdur-Rasheed.

Community Service

In the growing Muslim community, many nurses utilize their skills for community service.

Abdur-Rahseed uses his skills to serve his surrounding community as well. He currently assists a Muslim family with administering injections to treat their child’s juvenile arthritis.

“I don’t mind providing the knowledge and skills I attained through school and experience to assist others in the community, where I may be of some help. Even if it is just cleaning a cut or scrape and applying a band aid for one of my children’s friends; I feel like it is my responsibility to do it,” Abdur-Rasheed told AboutIslam.

Nursing often requires contact between opposite genders, which may raise questions as to why a Muslim would want to enter the field.

Abdur-Rasheed and Abdulaziz explained there is a distinction regarding medical contact, which is not for social purposes but to provide quality patient care.

“When contact occurs in this environment it is not in a way of social mingling but for health purposes,” Abdur-Rasheed told AboutIslam.

“I would say that the entire health field would have to be taken into question then. If we are talking about being in this country in particular, whether you are a nurse, a doctor, a radiology technician, it does not matter. You will encounter patients of the opposite sex in need of health care,” Abdulaziz said.

Both men affirmed that their faith has enriched their professions.

“Islam plays a major role. It is what gives me patience in taking care of others. It makes me kind to the one for whom I am caring,” Abdur-Rasheed said.

“I find myself going out of my way to protect the dignity and modesty of the patients I care for,” Abdulaziz told About Islam.