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Cyprus indicates urgent need to recruit nurses from third world countries 

Reports indicate that medical facilities on the Island of Cyprus may suspend operations due to a shortage of nurses, necessitating the need to hire nurses from third nations. 

This comes as media reports on Friday stated that the country is between 450 and 500 nurses short of the minimum required to cover all the gaps in the country’s health service.

The numbers will increase as nurses retire. 

In his remark on alleviating the shortage, the Chairman of the private hospitals’ association Marios Karaiskakis said, “As the shortage is already on the ground, we can import nurses from third countries and the hospitals which will employ them will have an obligation to ensure they learn the Greek language”. 

Authorities have stated that Cyprus’ nursing needs have “proven to be unable to be met either by the local or by the European labour market” and cited similar nursing shortages faced by countries across the European Union. 

For this reason, they said, the only way out is for nurses to be hired from third countries, and for third-country nationals who study nursing in Cyprus to be utilised in the domestic market. 

Some clinics may be forced to suspend their operations or operations may have to be postponed if Cyprus’ nursing shortage is not resolved immediately, according to a remark by the employers’ and industrialists’ federation. 

Current labour market situation for nurses 

Nairametrics learnt that there are currently around 400 nurses studying on the island of Cyprus of whom 120 are expected to graduate this year. 

Although it was previously believed not all of them would be able to immediately join the labour force as some are non-EU citizens, and unable to meet the minimum Greek language requirement to be hired, Karaiskakis has stated that the urgency in hiring locally and from third nations has eroded this. 

Karaiskakis said, 

“Hospitals are already struggling with staffing and cannot easily find staff to hire. If we do not act in a timely manner. we will not be able to meet our needs as a state at all,” he said. 

He stated that his association had suggested giving young people incentives to study nursing, and the creation of tighter legislation to determine the quotas of nursing in various sectors. 

On the matter of hiring third-country nationals, Karaiskakis claimed his association “has been proposing it for a long time.” 

“We have third-country nationals who study in Cypriot nursing schools. We can and must make use of them”. 

Lowering the barrier of entry for nurses 

Concerns about staff shortages emerged weeks after the trade union’s nursing branch claimed nurses are oftentreated with contempt” in Cyprus. 

This was a result of a lack of support mechanisms concerning their welfare, health and safety at work, and rights. 

To mitigate this, strategies are put in place to attract, recruit, and retain nurses and midwives to address the significant shortages currently being seen in the country. 

The federation also highlighted the need for the profession, by citing research from the last three decades which indicates that a 10% decrease in nurses’ education correlates with a 7% increase in patient mortality. 

They added, “Patient health and safety is of paramount importance, especially in these very difficult times. If we want to be better prepared for the next health crisis, in whatever form it may come, we must not lower the barrier for nurses to qualify.” 

Given the moves made by the Cypriot government to encourage the training of nurses for both domestic and international students. It is clear that the Island nation is opening its doors to international students interested in studying nursing. This will present more opportunities to obtain a healthcare job due to a shortage of personnel. 

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