One-Third of Nurses who Graduate immediately leave Bulgaria

Society » HEALTH | May 12, 2023, Friday // 10:17
Bulgaria: One-Third of Nurses who Graduate immediately leave Bulgaria

"There is a shortage of about 40,000 nurses in Bulgaria, and of 700 graduates a year, one-third immediately leave Bulgaria". This is what Milka Vasileva, president of the Bulgarian Association of Health Care Professionals, said in an interview for BTA, on the occasion of the International Day of Nursing.

"There are 24,281 nurses in Bulgaria, and their average age is 53 years. 36 percent of them are under the age of 45. The younger the nurses, the better it is for them and the health system, because the work is hard, mentally and physically tiring. New hospitals continue to be built, and the staff is decreasing", Vasileva recalled.

According to her, young people can be motivated to choose the profession with respect, compliance with work standards, good pay and working conditions.

According to the latest data, there are less than 25 thousand nurses in the country. In order to provide the necessary service to patients and to keep the system "stable", 30 thousand more nurses are needed to work in hospitals. An additional 10,000 nurses are needed to help general practitioners, medical centers, schools, kindergartens and nurseries. "We have been expressing our concern about the situation for years", Milka Vasileva pointed out.

In time, the responsible factors try to take measures to alleviate the situation, one of them being an increase in the number of places for students in medical universities and health care faculties.

Does it make sense to increase the number of students if there is no interest?

"It makes sense to increase the number of places for students if we are sure that there will be people who want to study nursing. The problem of the lack of nurses is worldwide and various international organizations in their declarations urge governments to invest in health care, to make staff retention policies, to have better pay for nurses, to have better working conditions, so that the existing personnel potential is preserved and there is interest in the profession. The profession is very difficult, and society associates the nurse with a syringe, but this profession is autonomous, with extremely serious training, the requirements for it are huge, the responsibility is extremely high", noted Vasileva.

The nurse and number of patients

In a study by the International Council of Nurses, it was shown that increasing the number of nurses by 1 per 10 beds led to a decrease in mortality from cerebrovascular accidents in the first 30 days by 11-28 percent, as well as by 8-12 percent up to one year after the incident. The Council is alarmed that by 2030 there will be a shortage of 9 million nurses in Europe.

The standards for patient care by one nurse depend on the medical institution - university hospital, municipal hospital, treatment hospital, but on average one nurse should serve seven patients. In Bulgaria, one nurse works with 30 or more patients. In our country, nurses, at the expense of their own health, save the system, Vasileva pointed out and recalled that there is still a lack of a standard for health care.

The association insists that the starting salary of a nurse should be three times the minimum wage.

The Union of Bulgarian Medical Specialists agreed to two minimum salaries as some more reasonable and feasible course of action in order to provide these funds after all. A minimum of BGN 1,500 should be the starting salary according to the Collective Labor Agreement, but not in all medical institutions this is fulfilled, comments Milka Vasileva.

According to her, the starting salary abroad is significantly higher. In order to be full in her work, the nurse should not work more than 12 hours per shift, after which she must have a day off, but this happens very rarely in Bulgaria.

"For 20 years, we have regulated the professions in the field of "health care" and now there is a Law on the Organization of Class, a National Electronic Professional Register, Rules for Good Medical Practice, a Code of Professional Ethics, working professional advisory councils. These 20 years have not been in vain, but unfortunately, due to the frequent changes of the government and the minister of health, it is often necessary, after we have reached something, to start from the beginning", Milka Vasileva pointed out.

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