My grandma brought me a article clipping from a recent edition of a local Armenian American newspaper. Recently, the third annual International Armenian Medical and Nursing Congress took place in the capital city of Yerevan. She thought this article could spark some discussion on my blog, and boy, was she right.
After reading this article, I realized – in the spirit of Thanksgiving – how thankful and blessed I am to be a nurse in America, a country that values nursing as a profession. Despite the challenges we face in establishing ourselves among the ranks of physicians and lawyers, we’ve come a long way. This year, I am thankful for the autonomy and respect that follows our amazing profession.
Here are a few quotes from the article that helped solidify my feelings of thanks. They really open your eyes to what it’s like for nurses in other countries.
- “A registered nurse’s salary in Armenia is about $50 to $100 per month. This figure records a 5-75% increase in salaries since 1995, as it used to range between $12 – $25 dollars per month.” While cost of living is obviously nowhere near what it is here, this is still beans in terms of payment.
- While this was a medical AND nursing conference, “due to financial constraints, the local Armenian nurses from Yerevan and Karabagh could not afford the conference registration fee which was $260 per person.” Can you believe it? That’s at least triple the average nurse’s monthly salary! Fortunately, organizations like the Armenian American Nurses Association (AANA) was able to raise funds and host a two-day conference for the nurses to attend free of charge.
- A few nursing schools are pushing toward BSN degrees to educate women in their profession. However, the Ministry of Education and the medical schools don’t want to recognize the BSN degree. “Their main fear is that BSN educated nurses will be competing for the jobs of the medical doctors and thus raising the professional standards of nursing is not favored.” In Armenia, medical school is something you enter into right out of high school and is a four year program. A BSN program gives nurses and doctors the same amount of education. After this next quote, you’ll understand why they’re a bit bummed about this…
- “The physicians restrict nurses from performing routine functions such as taking a patient’s blood pressure.” What it is that they ARE allowed to do, I am not completely sure. It just goes to show us how different our profession is across the world.
As an Armenian American myself, I’m so saddened, not only for the nursing profession, but for the substandard care that my people are receiving because of this lack of professionalism and education on both the part of the doctors and the nurses.
This year, I am thankful for my education, for this amazing profession that I’ve joined, and for the mutual respect we convey and receive as a profession dedicated to helping others.