New union chief: Estonia approximately 4,000 nurses short
Estonia suffers from a severe shortage of medical professionals, they lack training and the country is not ready for the changes happening in a global scale, said Tiina Teder, the newly elected head of the Nurses' Union.
The Estonian healthcare system has been dealt a heavy blow by the mass exodus of doctors and nurses. According to Teder, there is a direct link between the decision to emigrate, and the pay and working conditions in Estonia. She is, however, optimistic about the approaching minimum wage negotiations.
According to Teder, in addition to low pay rate, using the same nurses across organizations is also making the labor shortage worse. Low wages force many to work long hours in different hospitals and care centers.
“It might look like all is good, the staff is there and do their work, but if everyone just worked one full time position (workload 1.0), limiting themselves to one employer, or dividing their 1.0 workload between different places, we would be 4,000 nurses short,” Teder said.
The state currently pays for the training of 300-400 nurses each year. “With a view to the future, this is definitely not enough,” Teder noted.