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Rakime Elmir. Photo: WSU

Australian university unveils branded hijab for clinical practice

Muslim nursing and midwifery students at Western Sydney University now have the option to wear its first branded hijab for clinical practice.

Dr Rakime Elmir, co-creator of the program and WSU deputy director of clinical education, said the hijab – which is an optional part of the clinical uniform – has attracted a great deal of interest across the university.

It’s set to be introduced in other courses where there is a clinical component.

The branded hijab was created alongside guidelines and digital assets that are available to teaching staff, clinical facilitators and Muslim students.

Elmir said the project involved collaboration across the university and broader community.

“As a Muslim, I knew it was vital that community spiritual leaders, the broader community, our students and staff all had the opportunity for input,” Elmir said. “This ensured that a balance could be achieved between equipping Muslim nursing and midwifery students with the skills and tools needed to be confident in the job, whilst encouraging the practice of their beliefs.”

Co-creator of the program Sue Willis, the uni’s director of academic programs (clinical), said there is a significant gap in available resources addressing the unique cultural and religious beliefs and requirements of Muslim nursing and midwifery students.

The resources aim to address such issues like clinical uniform requirements, nursing care of different genders, bearing forearms to undertake aseptic hand wash and taking time from the clinical environment for prayer.

“The appetite for these resources was overwhelming,” Elmir said. “When we put a call out for a student discussion forum on this topic, more than 150 students registered – so there is clear support and interest for these resources.”

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