Filipinos and Indian nationals dominate the nursing workforce in the United Arab Emirates, according to a study conducted by the association of nurses in the Emirates.
The association intends to use results of the study to seek higher wages for nurses and to encourage Emiratis, particularly men, to enter the profession.
Emirati nurses constitute only a small percentage of the total nursing workforce in the UAE, the Emirates Nursing Association said.
"According to the study, of the total 23,433 nurses from different nationalities working in the country, only 759 were Emiratis. Of this total, only 12 were male [Emiratis]. Indians and Filipinos continued to dominate the workforce," UAE news site Khaleej Times said, citing excerpts from the report.
“The salary issues are also preventing Emiratis from working in the private sector and that’s why we don’t have a single local nurse in this sector," said Obaid Al Jenaidi, president of the association.
Al Jenaidi said the current ratio of UAE nurses to the total nursing workforce is still a far cry from the 25-percent target to address a critical shortage of nurses in the Emirates.
It is urgent for the UAE to open more universities for nurses, especially catering to male students, he said.
The study, entitled Encourage Emirati students to join the Nursing Profession, was presented during the International Nurses Day in Sharjah on Tuesday.
Other factors such as verbal and physical harassment by physicians were cited by experts in the event as reasons why nurses worldwide are dissatisfied with their jobs, according to the Khaleej Times.
The December 2009 study, which assessed the strength of the nursing workforce in the country, discovered no Emirati nurse was employed by private sector institutions in the Emirates.
Emirati nurses were employed by the police and military hospitals, the Ministry of Health, the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi, and the Health Authority of Dubai. “This is of course due to a better salary structure and work environment," Al Jenaidi said.
“Though the average Emirati workforce has increased from the previous figure that stood at 2 percent in 2007, we still have to meet a target of up to 25 percent," Al Jenaidi said.
“It will take time but it will eventually happen," he said. —VS, GMANews.TV