Nurse Shortage in Saudi Arabia Essay

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Introduction Background The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has committed vast resources by allocating more than 13 percent of its annual budget in improving the Kingdom’s medical care system, with the ultimate goal of providing free medical care for everyone. This commitment has been translated to more than 330 hospitals operated by the government and the private sector, with a capacity of more than 50,000 beds. Of these hospitals, 184 are run by the government, with more than 16 thousand doctors, 40 thousand nurses, and more than 25 thousand assistant nurses according to the Ministry of Health (2003). Based on these figures and the Saudi population of 20 million people, to satisfy and maintain the current health care standard, one out of every…show more content…
Unfortunately, the Saudi education system has only focused on high paid, prosperous, and prestigious jobs like doctors, engineers, and lawyers and left basic yet complementary job as nursing way behind. This lack of attention to necessary and complementary jobs, has led the Saudi education system in creating less than 20 percent of the nursing staff working in Saudi today, which in return led into today’s significant shortage in qualified and competent Saudi nurses and to high rate of imported nurses (Sadeeq, 2003). Even with a limited nursing teaching facilities, the Saudi social perception of nurses was a major factor in the nurse shortage in the country today. First, being low paying job, nursing is considered a middle to low class job, in contrast with it counterpart of being a physician. Secondly, with long working hours and night shifts, Saudi female nurses have had hard time in practicing their jobs due to strict social traditions. Last but not the least, the people’s perceptions of being the nurse of nothing more than a maid; who has to follow the physician’s orders and the patient’s needs, has ruined the nurse image completely. As hospitals across the country face a shortage in nurses, King Abdulaziz University Hospital (KAUH) as most other Saudi hospitals have chosen the path of importing professional labor to satisfy

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