Hospitals “Buying” Compulsory Leave of Nurses

Hospitals “Buying” Compulsory Leave of NursesHospitals “Buying” Compulsory Leave of Nurses

Nursing is a tough profession imposing potential risks of depression and exhaustion, especially for those working in intensive care units of hospitals. In most countries, including Iran, employees of hazardous jobs such as nursing, are provided compulsory leave and sometimes extra vacation, to prevent psychological harm.

However, on the eve of the election to the Iran Nursing Organization, Ya’qub Jafari, chairman of the Supreme Council of Nursing Organization, maintained that compulsory leave for nurses is “illegally bought in several hospitals.”  In some hospitals nurses are paid for “overtime” in lieu of their mandated leave, the Persian-language Iran newspaper reported.

The hospitals commit the offense under the pretext of nursing staff shortage, despite the constitutional directive that nurses should be provided with one month compulsory leave to prevent them from suffering physical and psychological distress.

Iran Nursing Organization’s Secretary General, Mohammad Sharifi, said: “We were informed that the one-month leave for nurses working in stressful conditions such as psychiatry and burns wards are bought for $240 to $300, equivalent to their one month salary.” In some hospitals, the “compensation” is even less than 20% of their salary.

Nursing is a hazardous job and has been extended various concessions by policymakers. For instance, nurses can retire after 25 years of service instead of the regular 30 years and receive a full pension.

Sharifi said the reason for shortage in nursing staff is due to the “medical-oriented system” in Iran and the gross difference in salaries between medics and nurses, sometimes up to $30,000 annually, discourages students to graduate in nursing  or shun such jobs.