Muscat: A total of 582 expat nurses have lost their jobs as 449 Omani nurses were hired over the last two years, the Ministry of Health has announced.
As the country continues to push for increased Omanisation rates in the public and private sectors, efforts have been made by the Ministry of Health to hire more Omani nurses to replace expats over the past few years.
According to the latest report, there were 5,531 expat nurses employed by the Ministry of Health in December 2017, compared to 6,113 nurses in 2015. During the same period, the number of Omani nurses increased from 8,562 to 8877, increasing the Omanisation rate to 62 per cent.
“Because of the increase in the number of graduates from the local educational and training institutions, there has been a substantial increase of Omanis in recent years in certain categories. Omani nurses make up 62 per cent of all nurses [under the Ministry of Health] in 2017,” the ministry said.
According to an Omani nurse hired within the two year period, one of the most important reasons she stepped into the field is because of the patients, “I feel like patients really appreciate my work, as do their families. The patients and visitors have never done anything to upset me,” the nurse told Times of Oman.
Recalling her favourite story from her work, she said, “An older gentleman was in a coma for two months while I was still new at the hospital, and I took care of him even though he didn’t know I was there.
“One day, during my second week of working at the hospital, he woke up while we were cleaning his eyes. He smiled at me and said, ‘You are going to go to heaven because of your dedication.’ These words from him were enough to push me to work as hard as I could as a nurse from that day on.”
Omanisation rates for MOH nurses have climbed steadily since 1990, when the rate was just 12 per cent. By December 2014, that number had rocketed to 59 per cent and rose again in 2016 to 61 per cent . The highest rate of Omanisation on record so far is 67 per cent in 2010.
Local hospitals are also hiring more Omanis as nurses, with the highest Omanisation being in Al Dhahira at 80 per cent, North Al Batinah at 78 per cent, and South Al Batinah with 75 per cent.
Zakiya Al Alawi, Head of Nursing at Jalan Bani Bu Ali Hospital in Al Sharqiya, told Times of Oman, “We have 185 nurses at the hospital, of which 132 are Omani.”
The report by the ministry also revealed that there are more Omani nurses working in the government sector than in the private sector,”
By December 2017, there were 19,938 nurses in the sultanate of which Omanis constitute 48 per cent. Of all the nurses working under the Ministry of Health, 62 per cent are Omani. On the other hand, in the private sector Omani women only make up 4 per cent of all nurses.”
There are 31.6 nurses for every 10,000 people in the sultanate, up from just 5.6 nurses per 10,000 people in 1975. Currently, the highest number of nurses per 10,000 people in Oman is in Musandam at 48.9 nurses followed by Al Wusta at 37.9 nurses per 10,000.
On Wednesday, March 13 various hospitals around the sultanate celebrated the Gulf Council Cooperation’s Nurse Day, to thank nurses for all their care and efforts. A spokesperson for Nizwa Hospital told Times of Oman, “We are holding a celebration for the nurses in the hospital right now. We will also have a small theatrical performance next week for them.”