Nurses are regularly taking part in protests because of their professional situation. They are under a lot of pressure in their jobs and are exposed to harm and risk, yet they do not have proper employment contracts. Most nurses in Iran work on temporary contracts for a very small salary. Even worse, their salary is not regularly paid to them.
Last week, nurses took to the streets in Boushehr because they had not been paid their salaries for 8 months. Female nurses protested in Semnan last month because of the non-payment of their salaries for 11 months. There have been many such protests already this year.
The Nursing Organization has admitted that the nurses are obliged to do overtime and recognised that this has not been paid for almost a year.
Officials in the regime state that there have been 16 deaths of nurses in the past 18 months due to heart problems brought on by workplace stress and working shifts, etc. However, it is presumed that the number is much higher because the regime underestimates and falsifies figures to hide the truth about what is really happening in the country.
International standards dictate that there should be one nurse for every four patients maximum, however in Iran there is only one nurse for every 15 patients.
Reports indicate there are tens of thousands of unemployed nurses in the country, many of whom do not want to work because of the lack of job security. They have no support from the government and are left to do a skilled and stressful job for a very small salary. Doctors in most countries get paid around three times more than a nurse. In Iran, the difference is 100 fold, with cases of up to 500 times more.
There is a high number of Iranians who graduate from nursing, but because they are unable to obtain an employment licence, many move abroad to work. This is creating a great shortage of nurses in Iran.
However, instead of remedying the situation, the Ministry of Health has decided not to make nurses’ employment official and is taking advantage of young university graduates by paying them next to nothing.