The Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences at Makassed University of Beirut is one of the oldest nursing colleges in Lebanon and the region. It was founded by Dr. Mustafa Khalidi in 1948 as the “National Nursing School”. It continued to develop and upgrade its programs to become in 1986 the “Higher Institute of Nursing”, then in 2006 the “Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences”.
The Dean of the Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences, Dr. Sawsan H. Ezzeddine was a member of the “Federation of Nursing Associations in Lebanon”, then President of the Federation from1992 till 2000. During her term, the law for the “Order of Nurses in Lebanon” was drafted and submitted to the parliament, and the Order was established in 2002. The Makassed Philanthropic Association embraced the “National Nursing School” since 1954 and continued to support and develop it until 1986 when it became the “Higher Institute of Nursing” to offer two bachelor programs in Nursing and Medical Laboratory. Since it was established, the Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences became a leading academic institution, graduating distinguished health care professionals able to meet the needs of health institutions.
As for the quality of education at the college, Dr. Sawsan explains that despite the continuous expansion that Makassed has witnessed over the past decades, and the financial crises that have plagued the country, its commitment to provide the best learning opportunities for the youth has remained a priority. The Makassed University of Beirut in was established in the year 2000, and with Decree number 16404 in 2006, and bachelor programs in Respiratory Therapy and Medical Radiation Technology were added to become the Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences. In 2013, the Master of Science in Nursing was licensed based on Ministerial Resolution No. 710/m/2013. Faculty graduates are competent professionals able to respond to the needs of health care institutions in Lebanon and the region. Moreover, graduates achieve first ranks in Colloquium exams, with a success rate of 100%.
The Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences currently offers undergraduate programs in Nursing, Respiratory Therapy, Medical Radiation Technology, Medical Laboratory. The duration of study for all undergraduate programs is 3 years. Hundreds of nurses and other health care professionals from different programs graduated from the Faculty and occupy leadership positions in health care institutions where they work.
With the appointment of Dr. Abdel-Raouf Sinno as the new president of Makassed University of Beirut, efforts are directed to activate all programs, increase the number of applicants, and improve university facilities and services.
Entrance requirements for undergraduate Faculty programs include the Lebanese Baccalaureate (Part Two), in addition to an English language entrance exam and other official documents. As for the Master of Science in Nursing program, entrance requirements include a bachelor degree in nursing from a recognized university, with a minimum graduation average of 75% (GPA-2.73), an English entrance exam (TOFEL), and other official documents.
Regarding the “bridging” program, Dr. Ezzeddine explains that this RN/BSN Program is based on Decree No. 8590 of 2/8/2012, for those who have a Technical Certificate in Nursing (TS) and wish to obtain a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. In addition, the RN-RT Program is designed for nurses who wish to change their career path from nursing into respiratory therapy.
Tuition fees according to Dr. Sawsan were not increased during the past two years, based on an exchange rate of 1500 LBP/US Dollar considering the social and financial conditions of students and their families; this imposed huge financial burdens on the association. Students pay their fees in five installments during the academic year. The Makassed Philanthropic Association also helps deserving students with scholarships when needed. The possibility of signing a contract with Makassed General Hospital to obtain an educational loan and work at the hospital after graduation is given for deserving students who excel in their studies. A number of institutions and NGOs offer educational grants based on students’ academic profiles.
As for job opportunities, Dr. Ezzeddine explains that graduates can work at Makassed General Hospital, even those who do not sign a contract, or in any other health care institution locally and abroad.
The Faculty also offers the Practical Program (BP) which graduates nurses who work as “Nurse Assistants”. Graduates obtain a license to practice the profession from the Ministry of Health after successfully passing the official qualifying examinations. Entrance requirements include the official Brevet Certificate (Grade 9), an entrance exam and other official documents. The duration of study is 11 months and the language of instruction is Arabic. This program provides the opportunity for graduates to work in different hospitals and health centers. It also opens the doors for them to complete their education and obtain the Technical Baccalaureate in Nursing Care (BT) then a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BS).
Applicants who do not have an official Brevet Certificate (Grade 9) can also pursue the “Nurse Aide” program, and work as a ” Care Assistants”.
To conclude, Dr. Sawsan Ezzeddine confirms that all programs are recognized by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, and graduates are sought after by healthcare institutions in Lebanon and abroad.