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Reconstructing a healthcare system in Iraq

New Haven, Conn. Nurses in Iraq listed building new hospitals, English language training and creating more autonomy and respect for their profession as priorities in reconstructing a healthcare system in the war ravaged country, according to a study by researchers at Yale School of Nursing.

A total of 744 surveys were collected from nurses in the Dohuk and Erbil regions of northern Iraqi Kurdistan by field researchers working on the project with Yale. The region has remained stable with only sporadic violence because of creation of the "no-fly" zone in 1991.

"However, a functioning economy does not mean that the reconstruction is complete," said Allison Squires, R.N., doctoral candidate and lead author of the study in Advances in Nursing Science. "It will be an ongoing process. Including input from nurses will be important for ensuring the success of the policy choices made there."

Squires and co-author Ali Sindi, M.D., who is in Iraq, developed the survey. After the survey was translated into Arabic and Kurdish field coordinators distributed it to nurse participants at their place of work and the data was emailed to Squires.

In addition to new hospitals, language training and leadership development, nurses reported the need for new equipment and furniture for patient care, financial support for student nurses, more access to nursing and medical journals and improved laboratory services.

"Nurses repeatedly wrote down that they wanted more respect, not only in the workplace, but in society as a whole. They suggested that this could be accomplished through recognition for quality of performance," Squires said. "They also wanted respect from physicians, administrators and the public but did not offer solutions in this area."

The nurses also called for assistance with housing, child care and transportation to and from work and risk allowances to cover health benefits such as vaccinations. "We might assume from this that
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Contact: Jacqueline Weaver
jacqueline.weaver@yale.edu
203-432-8555
Yale University
25-May-2006


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