Due to health sector shortage in Jordan, some 4,000 extra nurses will be needed to fill the vacant position by 2008.
“There is a shortage as the number of nurses per 10,000 citizens stands at 16, which is a small number compared to other countries,” JNC Adviser Muntaha Gharaibeh said during during a press conference following the inauguration of the 1st Jordanian Nursing Council International Conference 2006, held under the theme “Nursing Global Citizenship.”
“What adds to the problem is that many of the nursing graduates leave to work abroad due to better salaries,” she added.
The conference aims to spread and exchange knowledge and expertise between participants in the field of nursing and create a communication network between nurses at the local, Arab and international levels.
According to their record, 2,700 of 8,700 Jordanian nurses are working abroad, mainly in the UK and Arab Gulf countries.
Gharaibeh also added that more than 1,000 nurses are expected to graduate from the eight Jordanian nursing schools by the end of 2006. And although they want those graduates to find their work in other country, still encourage more nurses to land a job at their own motherland.
“We are still interested in having our nurses work in other countries as it contributes to the national income by bringing in hard currency. However, we seek to encourage more nurses to stay in the country by providing them with tempting incentives,” she said.
“Nurses have the obligation and the responsibility to develop international standards for education and service, to seek opportunities for collaborative research and for sharing of technological development. They have to discover mechanisms to strengthen global leadership in nursing,” JNC President HRH Princess Muna, who opened the event, said, underlining the importance of the profession.
Gharaibeh said the strategy attempts to create a balance in the local and international recruiting of nurses as it will provide more job incentives for nurses.
"We initially have 400 copies of the strategy and they will be distributed to the ministries of health, higher education and planning, which will work on securing funds for some of the proposed projects," she said.
The regional director of WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region Hussein A. Gezairy, told the delegates that a shortage of nurses is a problem currently affecting the entire developing world.
“Across the developing world, health workers are facing economic hardships, deteriorating health infrastructures and social unrest,” he said.
“In the developed world, as people live longer and chronic diseases increase, there is a need for increasing numbers of health workers, fuelling the migration of health workers from the developing to the developed countries,” Gezairy added.
The gap between supply and demand, the geographic maldistribution in urban and rural settings and the imbalances in the number of different categories of professionals in the Eastern Mediterranean Region represent another dimension of the crisis.
“In addition, even in countries where the ratio of health workers to population is high, the number of expatriate workers exceeds that of nationals,” he said.
He also added that the health systems around the world are now facing a triple crisis of workforce shortage, low morale and fading trust. The WHO estimates the current global health workforce to be around 60 million.
It is estimated that there is a global shortage of millions of doctors, midwives, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, technicians and support workers.
Currently, there are more than two million health workers in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. An additional two million professionals are required in order to raise the regional average number of workers per 10,000 population from 4.6 to reach the current global average of 9.3.
The three-day event is held by the JNC in collaboration with the TEMPUS Joint European Project, the Jordan University for Science and Technology, and the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office. It is designed to support the national strategic directions and promote the health and welfare of all Jordanians. And more than 1,000 specialists representing 20 Arab and foreign countries participated on the said event.