Around 200 nurses have resigned from their jobs in the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) in the past three years in pursuit of better opportunities and career abroad.
The TUTH is taken as the health institution providing relatively good facilities to its staffs, the number of nurses reportedly quitting jobs for abroad opportunities is on the rise, however.
The Department of Nursing, TUTH has been keeping the records of nurses leaving the hospital in search of foreign opportunities since mid-December 2014. The data shows that a total of 22 nurses had moved out of the TUTH in four months (from mid-December, 2014 to mid-April 2015).
This number was 57 in the year 2072 BS, 69 in the following year, and 45 till the Nepali month of Paush in 2074 BS.
Presently, around 50 are in the process of making an exit from the hospital, according to the hospital. Though resignations of some of them followed their selection of the permanent job quotas, most of them had set out for foreign countries, according to TUTH Nursing Department Director Kopila Shrestha.
Foreign country (ies) is the first choice of nurses in Nepal, and the TUTH is the second priority. But lack of professional security, proper recognition and secured future are the apparent reasons forcing hospital nurses to seek a better option that means aboard job opportunities. Overload and overwork are one of the challenges facing nurses at the TUTH.
Shrestha said that the trend of tendering resignation by permanent and contract basis nurses every month has caused problems in the management of nurses in the hospital.
Chief at Hospital Administration Govinda Bahadur Pradhan said that the hospital has been compelled to hire nurses on contract basis in every six months due to increase in outflow of nurses. He said, “Number of nurses seeking better opportunities in foreign countries is increasing in lack of facilities including payment as per their expectations in the country.” Guarantee of nurses’ professional security is a must.”
Similarly, Chief of TUTH Department of Planning and Construction Deepak Tiwari said that such problem would surface time and again until the government added more permanent quotas at the hospital and they have been demanded additional 500 quotas for nurses and technicians. There are 317 permanent nurses and 283 nurses on contract basis in the hospital. Nursing Association of Nepal has launched a phase-wise agitation across the nation from January 11 putting forth 11-point demand.
Shrestha said that the government should guarantee professional security by addressing genuine demands of the Association.
The nurses are discontinuing work for three hours a day in protest from January 15 to 17. Acting Chairperson of the Association Ganga Thapa threatened to disrupt work in all hospitals and medical institutions from 8 am to 4 pm from January 18 to 20 if their demands are not met.
“We will continue our protest, halt work 24 hours a day, and stage a sit-in in front of the Ministry of Health from January 21,” she said, adding that various organizations working for the welfare of nurses have come out to their support. Their demands include the implementation of the government-set nurse-patient ratio at the earliest, ‘appropriate’ pay to nurses working for private health facilities by their position and an end to labor exploitation of female volunteers.
Implementation of Labour Act, 2074 at the earliest, ensuring ‘appropriate’ remuneration and security to nurses working in rural areas, and preparing a clear draft for career development of nurses meeting set criteria for the job are their other demands.
They have also demanded that qualified auxiliary nurse midwives be promoted to staff nurses, and arrangements be made for paid study leave for nurses to pursue Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in nursing.