x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Make nursing attractive

Highlighting the advantages of nursing as a career would help attract more Emiratis to the profession

The UAE's health sector is heavily reliant on expatriate nurses. Ravindranath K / The National
The UAE's health sector is heavily reliant on expatriate nurses. Ravindranath K / The National

The health care sector is growing rapidly in the UAE, so is the demand for medical professionals, including nurses. Yet, too few Emiratis choose nursing as a career. According to statistics, only three per cent of the 23,000 to 25,000 nurses in the country are Emirati. As The National reported yesterday, the Dubai Health Authority has recruited 531 nurses from countries such as India, Jordan and the Philippines to cope with pressing demand in new hospitals.

There is little doubt about the quality of the expatriate workforce, but the advantage of having Emiratis in the profession is that they can better take care of Emirati patients, as well as those from the region, as they are better placed to understand their cultural needs and sensitivities. However, to make the job attractive to them, it is essential to first improve perceptions about the profession. There are many factors responsible for this, such as perceived low wages, inadequate recognition and low job satisfaction.

One effective recruitment strategy could be to highlight nursing as a dynamic profession that provides an incredibly broad range of opportunities and a chance to have an interesting, successful and meaningful career that makes a real difference to other people’s lives. Increasing investment in education and career development will also help.