By Faranak Bakhtiari

65% of Iranian nurses at forefront of corona fight

May 12, 2020 - 17:48

TEHRAN – Some 65 percent of the 200,000 Iranian nursing community has been at the forefront of fighting the coronavirus pandemic in the country, said the deputy health minister for nursing.

Maryam Hazrati made the remarks on the occasion of International Nurses Day celebrated around the world on May 12.

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has declared the Nursing the World to Health - for this year's theme - focusing on the true value of nurses to the people of the world, under a theme of "Nurses: A Voice to Lead."

This year’s celebrations will be extra special because the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as The Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

Iranian nurses shined in battling coronavirus epidemic, and a number of them were martyred along the way, she stated, IRNA reported.

She explained that we should appreciate all the nurses on World Nurses' Day. Iran's nursing position in the world and in the region is high, and today Iran is the second-largest country in the Eastern Mediterranean region in terms of nursing science production after Turkey.

Currently, 45,000 nursing students are studying in 192 medical sciences universities of the country, for bachelor's degree and 12 master's degrees, including children, surgery, community health, mental health, neonatal and pediatric intensive care, adult intensive care, military nursing, and etc., she added.

She went on to say that there are 16 nursing research centers, a nursing research network, 38 scientific journals of nursing in English or Persian, which are published in reputable international indexes.

Nurses to hospital beds ratio in Iran

The average ratio of nurses to hospital beds in the country is now 1.02, which is far from the standard level, and we hope to reach the required standard in the next five years, Hazrati said, adding, the standard ratio of nursing to bed, which includes nurses, paramedics, operating room nurses, anesthetists, paramedics, is 2.3 people per hospital bed.

In the world, the ratio of nurses to the population is now measured because the role of nurses is not only known in the hospital but also the role of nurses in society, she also said.

Referring to the role of nurses in countering the coronavirus epidemic, she stated that “Nurses in the country are a family of 200,000 people, more than 65 percent of whom were in direct contact with COVID-19 patients in hospitals and took care of patients, which resulted in the release of many patients.

Since the onset of the outbreak, no COVID-19 patient has left untreated behind hospitals, even normal patients received the necessary care during this period, there was no dialysis patient who did not receive dialysis services three times a week and their care or medication was stopped, she highlighted.

Prior to the epidemic in Iran, a checklist of hospitals for treatment of COVID-19 patients was developed and sent to medical universities; based on that, continuous visits have been made so far and nursing managers are monitoring the observance of this protocol; nursing staff training and empowerment for the care of patients was also conducted during this period, she also explained.

Nurses have been trained to care for infected patients during their university years, but to better remember and care for patients with COVID-19, nursing administrators and educational supervisors and infection control supervisors have been trained through video conferencing and instructed to train other nurses and groups, she noted.

No shortage of nurses for coronavirus epidemic

There has so far been no report on the shortage of nurses in the provinces, for example, Gilan province which had the highest number of infections did not face such problems. Even in Khuzestan province, which is currently facing an increase in new cases of COVID-19 disease, have not reported any nurse shortages, while if they need it, their needs will be met, she further explained.

Free voluntary care of coronavirus patients

Since the beginning of the epidemic, about 1,733 nurses, including faculty, graduate nursing students, retired and volunteer nurses, have offered to care for infected patients and provide counseling and training services at hospitals, Hazrati emphasized.

A total of 673 volunteer nurses were offering specialized counseling, she added.

She also emphasized that a number of nurses have also been sent to non-hospital centers, such as nursing homes, to prevent COVID-19 spread.

Wherever there was a report of a shortage of protective equipment, it was quickly investigated, and now we have not received any reports on the shortage of masks, gloves, scrubs, and protective equipment in any of the country's hospitals, she stated, concluding, of course, the use of these items is done according to the standards, and not all isolated clothes or N95 masks are needed.

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