The nurses' comments reflect the low public status of nursing and the lack of consistent authority. "We have more than one manager." "We are insulted and every guilt of the hospital eventually comes upon nurses." "We should be paid more than police and teachers because teachers have four days off each month and they are not tired like us." Currently nurses in Iraq earn an average of US$150 per month.
Diseases nurses listed as priority concerns were childhood illnesses, cancer and sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, of which the incidence rate remains low. Squires said cancer rates are high in the region due to a variety of factors including chemical warfare used by the previous authoritarian regime for ethnic suppression. Malnutrition was also a serious concern. It stems from both prolonged political sanctions in the region and mismanagement that impeded the success of the United Nations' oil-for-food program in the country during the 1990s.
"The feedback provided by the nurses in this study demonstrates clear priorities that can facilitate both the short-term working conditions of Iraqi nurses and the long-term plans for the development of the profession," Squires said.
The study was made possible by a collaboration facilitated by the Yale World Fellows program along with Internet access. This non-governmental collaboration added to the credibility of the study, although the study did have the support of the regional government. The authors believe the non-governmental collaboration increased the willingness of the nurses to participate.
The Internet provided a consistent means of reliable communication in a place where electricity and phone service are sporadic at best. And, although managing a research study without local site visits did
Contact: Jacqueline Weaver