Cathy Cribben-Pearse-1681539204267
Cathy Cribben-Pearse, Irish expat in the UAE, has been chosen as one of the 10 finalists of the coveted Aster Guardians Global Nursing Award 2023 from among more than 52,000 entries from 202 countries. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: An Irish expat, who became the UAE finalist of the $250,000 global nursing award by Aster DM Healthcare, has said she considers it as a recognition of the critical role that nurses play in creating a sustainable healthcare workforce.

Last week, Cathy Cribben-Pearse, 45, was chosen as one of the 10 finalists of the coveted Aster Guardians Global Nursing Award 2023 from among more than 52,000 entries from 202 countries.

“As a nurse, I have been privileged to work with numerous talented and dedicated professionals who inspire me every day,” Cathy told Gulf News.

“To be acknowledged among such esteemed colleagues is not only humbling, but incredibly inspiring. It reinforces my belief in the importance and potential of the nursing profession to impact healthcare outcomes. This nomination is a testament to the unwavering dedication, passion, and commitment that nurses and midwives have invested. It motivates me to continue advocating for a sustainable workforce that prioritises the well-being of nurses and the patients they serve.”

COVID-19 mission

Cathy became known globally during the COVID-19 pandemic after she offered her pro bono services online as a certified coach to nurses and midwives who needed supportive counsel during the challenging times.

“The COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges, and as a nurse, I saw first-hand the difficulties faced by nurses. Amid the chaos and fear of the pandemic, many nurses were not only risking their lives but also losing their loved ones to the virus.”

“During the lockdown, I volunteered to coach healthcare professionals online, after my children went to bed. I shared the post on social media, and to my surprise, it quickly went viral. As I spoke to nurses from different parts of the world, I noticed a common theme — they were unaware of the coaching concept, and many of them saw me as a potential mentor.”

The result of this realisation led Cathy to wonder if these nurses could mentor each other and thus, the seed of a mentoring company was planted.

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Mentoring nurses

She subsequently resigned from her full-time Nursing Director position to establish “OakTree Mentoring,” a programme designed to build a global mentoring community, bringing on board 200 nurses and midwives from around the world.

“My ultimate goal is to contribute to the development of a sustainable workforce of skilled and compassionate nurses who can make a difference in the lives of patients and communities around the world,” said Cathy.

A nursing leader with over 20 years of experience in the field, Cathy has worked with multiple facilities in the NHS London and Ireland. Her nursing career has been marked with many successful start-ups, including the first high dependency unit in the NHS for pregnant women with other clinical conditions, the first private colposcopy clinic in Ireland.

She was part of the opening of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, one of the largest healthcare facilities in the world where she started as a nursing house supervisor and later progressed to the role of Director of Nursing: Quality, Patient Safety, and Accreditation. She also became a coach and oversaw the achievement of “Magnet,” by the hospital, the first in the UAE to achieve the prestigious nursing accolade in the world.

Life in UAE

“The UAE’s progressive provisions of care and their drive for world-class healthcare have also been inspiring to witness. The country’s commitment to innovation and excellence has motivated me to continually strive for the highest standard of care in my nursing practice,” said Cathy.

As a business owner and wife to Oliver and mother to three boys, Eden, 10, Iver, nine and Zain, six, Cathy’s days are filled with juggling tasks and responsibilities. However, she said she is able to successfully balance her roles with a few key strategies in place.

Should she win the prize money of the award, Cathy said her intention is to invest it in her business. “I believe I would not only be contributing to the growth and development of the nursing profession, but also to their well-being, growing communities around the globe based on the power of mentorship and by providing guidance, and scholarships to deserving students.”

The voting system for the 2023 Aster Guardians Global Nursing Award is now open on the award’s website. The award ceremony will take place on May 12, International Nurses Day, in London.