I was slightly nervous when I realised that Ramadan, Islam’s holiest month, takes place during this year’s RCN congress.
Ramadan starts on June 18, and with congress running from June 21-25, I did not relish the idea of waking at 3am to eat (known as Sehri), then spending the daylight hours fasting.
I soon started to relax, however, when I realised that I have been sleep deprived, hungry and thirsty before and survived, usually while short-staffed on a busy ward. Compared with that, congress during Ramadan will be a walk in the park.
I can be exempt from fasting while travelling to and from congress on Sunday and Friday – I will do two make-up fasts later in the year, probably when the days are shorter – so that just leaves Monday to Thursday.
Congress 2015 is being held in Bournemouth, where I doubt the local hotels are used to serving food to guests at dawn. But most have 24-hour room service, and I am sure a prior arrangement could be made. Or what about a spot of self-catering? Stashing something to eat in the minibar the night before might be a good idea.
Prayer times should not cause too many problems; prayers offered while away from home are short, all you need is a quiet corner and to know the direction of Ka’ba, the holiest place in Islam. A compass app on a smartphone could come in handy for this.
The best thing about fasting during congress is that I do not have to worry about fitting in lunch with fringe events, which can be tricky when there is so much going on. And as time whizzes by, I am sure the hours will not drag to Iftar, when I can end my daily fast at sunset.
I hope Muslim nurses attend congress in large numbers this year. Congress during Ramadan should be memorable indeed.