With the recent issuing of Extra Ordinary Leave (EOL) for all the health staff, many nurses in Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) have begun availing EOL.
Nursing Superintendent of JDWNRH, Tandin Pemo said many nurses have availed the EOL since its opening of EOL system, expressing that they need to go for up gradation and sometimes accompanying their spouse abroad.
EOL system was there in the beginning and they set it on a percentage system for some time, but in between they stopped providing EOL because many nurses were leaving leading to the shortage of nurses in the hospital.
“Presently we have kept it open since we can’t stop also. According to the RCSC rule all government employees can avail EOL for 24 months,” said the Nursing Superintendent.
She said there are nurses who have joined other UN offices. There are nurses leaving for other organizations even for a contract basis in other organizations taking EOL and after that when they get recruited permanently they resign from their job. Similarly, those who are going for further studies by taking up EOL are also eventually resigning from their jobs.
Large numbers of nurses in JDWNRH who took up EOL for further up gradation didn’t return with the exception of a few nurses, she said.
She said there is a lack of nurses in the hospital and when they take EOL after gaining experience, the health system is impacted and patient consideration is compromised. At the point when the experienced nurses leave the work, new enrollment takes time to learn, she added.
Particularly in COVID-19 pandemic when many nurses are availing EOL, it hampers the health services and maximum number of nurses are female where they also need to take maternity leave. So all these circumstances will ultimately lead to a shortage of nurses in the country.
Officiating Medical Superintendent, Dr Pem Chuki said all kinds of health staff especially nurses are going for Extra Ordinary Leave (EOL) and even the doctors are going for it. Some are availing for Masters, so there are some nurse shortages faced by the hospital.
However, health staff taking EOL isn’t as much compared to other agencies. Around 10% of the heath staff are taking EOL and the numbers are more for nurses. They didn’t have the EOL system earlier because they were losing a lot of human resources. They opened up the EOL system last year and since then they have been getting a lot of applicants.
She said in other organizations they are not limiting from taking EOL and so that is the reason they needed to open it up.
Health staff especially nurses leaving will put on more pressure in the health system for there will be an increase in the nurses-patient ratio.
There are about 500 nurses in JDWNRH.