The nurses in Iran

Last week, the National Nursing Organization of Iran said that there is a major shortage of nurses in the country. On Friday 27th September, the organization’s president Ali Asghar Dalvandi told the board of directors that every year there is a minimum of 4,000 nurses that leave the profession.

He explained that this is for a variety of reasons, such as resignation, retirement, and disability. At any given time, thousands could take maternity leave.

Dalvandi said that the budget should provide the resources to bring in 10,000 new nurses on an annual basis. He said that the National Nursing Organization has attended a number of meetings with the Ministry of Health in parliament and has suggested a budget of 2,000 billion tomans.

However, Dalvandi explained that the request has not to be granted with the official reason being that there is no scientific or expert evidence to warrant the budget allocation.

Dalvandi said that more than half of the Ministry of Health’s workforce is made up of nurses and that it is the Ministry itself that has to deal with the consequences of such shortages in staff. He was quoted in the state-run Mehr publication: “The hasty implementation of the Transformation Plan has been one of the problems of the nursing community.”

The nurses in Iran, like many other professionals, are treated very badly by the regime. Working conditions are deplorable and months’ worth of salaries are often paid extremely late. Pay levels are low and conditions are dangerous.

Dalvandi spoke about the conditions earlier this year, stating that the injustices and discrimination that nurses deal with are very prevalent. He said in the media that the nurses in Iran face worse conditions than their counterparts in Iraq and Kenya. They suffer every day with the staff shortages and are underpaid and overworked, so much so that many are forced to leave the profession.

Back in January, he said: “We need at least another 150,000 nurses. The world standard of the ratio of nurses to hospital beds is 1 to 8 (12.5%), while in our country this ratio is 0.7% (i.e. 7 for every 1000 beds). This shows we are way below the standards.”

However, the Iranian regime is mismanaging the situation instead of addressing it with means that will improve conditions and the deficit of active nurses. The regime has not been granting new nursing licenses and there are 30,000 unemployed nurses across the country.

To have the minimum number of nurses to adequately cover the country’s population of the 80 million people, there should be a minimum of 240,000 active nurses. The current figure is 160,000. A completely inadequate number.

It was reported last year that nurses in Iran are working much longer hours than they should be. Furthermore, many nurses are leaving the country and seeking employment abroad where they will receive a better salary and be employed with better rights. Many Iranian nurses in the past few years have moved to Europe and North America.