Müzeyyen Yüce / DUVAR
Turkey has a shortage of about 15,000 critical care nurses who are essential for COVID-19 treatment, Critical Care Nurses Association warned. While the Health Ministry promised to appoint 11,000 nurses to combat the coronavirus outbreak, association chair Ebru Kıraner notes that these nurses will not be ready to fill in during the crisis.
Turkish Critical Care Nurses Association Chair Ebru Kıraner said, noting that the 11,000 nurses that the Health Minister promised to appoint would not remedy the problem.
“Beds and ventilators aren’t enough to evaluate the quality of intensive care in a hospital,” Kıraner said, adding that this has been the focus of the Turkish Health Ministry’s fight against COVID-19.
None of the Health Ministry’s new assignments will be able to immediately serve critical care patients. Kıraner noted that it would be a risky situation if new nursing assignments could immediately care for COVID-19 patients, as it takes at least one year for a nurse to secure enough experience in critical care units to be able to deliver quality service.Medical staff sacked with gov't decrees want to contribute to fight against coronavirus
“It takes us five years to mentor an expert critical care nurse. So we suggest that instead of placing the new assignments in critical care, we should transfer seasoned nurses who have experience in critical care to this department,” Kıraner said.Hospital in Van starts producing its own protective masks to combat shortage amid coronavirus outbreak
Turkey’s critical care capacity
Turkey’s Health Ministry declared the number of critical care nurses in the country as being 12,300 in 2016, a number that Kıraner suspects has not grown in parallel with need over the past four years.
While Health Minister Fahrettin Koca declared that the country has 25,466 critical care beds, Kıraner notes that this number can be expanded if necessary but that this would make the shortage of critical care personnel will become even more dire.
“Covid-19 patients need level three critical care. We had trouble assigning one nurse to two patients before the pandemic. COVID-19 patients are recommended to have individual nurses, but that won’t be possible,” Kıraner said.Erdoğan couple joins collective applause supporting healthcare staff
Currently, critical care units across Turkey are not over occupied, Kıraner said, adding that the next 10 days will determine the course of the outbreak.
“A few locations whose critical care units are full are trying to convert their operating rooms into critical care units,” Kıraner said. “It makes you wonder how they have enough staff to care for all of their patients.”Healthcare data shows shortage of physicians in Turkey
Demands of critical care nurses
Like many experts, Kıraner called for increased and faster testing among healthcare professionals who are at risk.
“We’re hearing that many of our coworkers working directly with Covid-19 patients are not getting tested,” Kıraner said.
Some critical care nurses reported a shortage of personal protective equipment, Kıraner added, noting that despite the Health Ministry’s efforts, some centers are still experiencing low supply.Pharmacists in Turkey's capital don't have masks for their own use, nor for sale
Lastly, Turkey’s critical care nurses want to be represented in parliament’s scientific committee on COVID-19.
“It’s critical that the some 200,000 people working out there in the field are represented in the scientific committee.”