Nurses around the world are a vital part of every healthcare system as they are instrumental in providing direct and indirect care to patients across a wide variety of health matters. Where there are shortages of nurses, you will find severely diminished levels of patient care and often poor outcomes for the patients.
Back in 2008, the estimation was that around 90,000 nurses were working in Iran at the time, however, to provide optimal care to patients, approximately 220,000 nurses were needed.
Nursing is a high-risk and harmful job. In general, nurses are often exposed to stresses such as abnormal mental and physical conditions during their shifts; infection with pathogens and viruses such as Coronavirus, hepatitis, and AIDS; and exposure to radiation and carcinogens. Their job is completely different from that of an employee sitting at a desk.
The Iranian regime’s previous deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi stated that there are only 1.6 general practitioners, dentists, and specialists for every 1,000 people in Iran, whereas, to meet the country’s demand, 2.5 doctors are needed for the same amount of people.
These figures fall short of the ratio that the World Health Organization stated that they wish to achieve around the world by 2030, which is 4.45 doctors, nurses, and midwives for every 1,000 people.
Long before the coronavirus pandemic swept through Iran, and the world, Iran was already struggling to retain their medical professions, with many deciding to emigrate abroad for better pay and better work/life balances.
According to a quote from the Secretary-General of Nurses’ Home, Mohammad Sharifi Moghaddam from the Jahan-e Sanat Newspaper in May, he said that every month, between 100 and 150 nurses leave Iran.
Dr. Armin Zareian, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nursing Organization, announced on April 11 that 500 nurses per month were emigrating to North American and European countries.
Mohammad Mirzabeigi, the head of the Iranian Nursing Organization stated the nurses are working in tough conditions, with significant increases in workload due to the pandemic. He went on to explain that around 100,000 nurses caught the Covid-19 virus while working and at least 130 have died as a result.
Added to the numbers of nurses leaving to find work abroad, he stated that between 2018 and 2021, around 16,000 nurses have retired from the profession without their positions being replaced, further adding to the shortages across the country. The remaining nurses must work a lot of overtime to fill in the gaps and take on more responsibilities and patients to keep the healthcare system working, which not only affects themselves, but their job performance levels.
Despite such alarming statistics, the Iranian government has done nothing to improve their job conditions. At times, the government has hired temporary and short-term nurses to replace the ones with seniority to save money and, of course, at the expense of people’s lives.
Across Iran, nurses and other medical practitioners are treated poorly compared to their counterparts all over the world. As a result of the poor treatment, many nurses have taken to the streets in recent months to demand better working conditions, better pay, and job security.
With the Iranian regime doing little to solve these issues, it is evident that the situation will only worsen soon, and more and more nurses will decide to seek out better job opportunities abroad. This in turn will severely affect Iran’s already fragile healthcare system and cause major impacts on patient care in the future.
One cannot blame Iranian nurses who have chosen to continue their careers beyond their country’s borders. The regime of the Ayatollahs is the sole and primary reason for the misery of Iran’s nurses and the people of Iran, in general.