According to new research from the International Council of Nurses (ICN), the global nursing shortage should be handled as a global emergency. According to the report, adequate investment in a strong global nursing workforce will allow health systems worldwide to begin recovering from the pandemic’s consequences and rebuilding.
Professor James Buchan and ICN CEO Howard Catton co-authored the report, Recover to Rebuild: Investing in the Nursing Workforce for Health System Effectiveness. It builds on the analysis from ICN’s Sustain and Retains report, released last year. It highlights the terrible effects of the pandemic on both individual nurses and the world’s nursing workforce.
Recover to rebuild claims over 100 studies demonstrate that 40% and 80% of nurses report having had psychological distress symptoms and that nurses’ intention to leave rates have increased to at least 20%. Annual hospital turnover rates have grown to 10% and even higher.
The report details nurses’ crucial and frequently hazardous role during the pandemic. It offers evidence from studies of nurses in Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ghana, India, Iran, Ireland, Jordan, Malaysia, and Mexico. The Netherlands, Norway, The Philippines, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United States of America, and other countries. This data demonstrates the COVID Effect’s aggravation of health systems’ precariousness and the requirement for significant and ongoing investment.
The analysis confirms what is already anticipated since the pandemic. Nurses were on the front lines, frequently in the firing line. Nurses are the healthcare professionals who can get the nation out of this post-pandemic slump. They won’t be able to do it without enough of them.
Health systems worldwide are failing to find enough employees, even though authorities know this is crucial to finding solutions to the healthcare crisis. Although the requirements are outlined in our report, only government officials can implement them. The investments the policymakers make in the nursing workforce and the healthcare systems they work in will help make Universal Health Coverage a reality and pay off for people for decades. The time is running out, though. Take immediate action and quit putting off finding a solution. Building healthier communities with healthier employees, more secure healthcare, and stable economies is made possible by nurses.
According to the report, the nursing workforce’s stress, burnout, and absences from work are signs of the healthcare system’s precarious condition. They must be quickly addressed if nurses are to successfully assume their key role in the global health systems’ recovery.
The blog states that relying on a nurse’s resilience is not viable. Governments must accept responsibility and make amends for their subpar planning and policy responses, resulting in a persistent global nursing shortage.
According to the report, many nations have not made enough investments in the education of sufficient numbers of nurses to meet the requirements of their populations, which has resulted in overwork and additional responsibilities for their existing staff as well as a reliance on the harmful and unsustainable international recruitment by wealthier nations as a temporary fix.
The demand for nurses domestically in countries with a history of training nurses “for export” is now rising significantly. Another example is the Philippines, where the government has acknowledged a shortage of up to 350,000 nurses, first noted by the Philippine Nurses Association.
According to Howard Catton, governments worldwide must make recovery from the current situation a top priority. He called the global nurse shortage a global health emergency.
He further stated, Last year, we provided evidence of the enormous toll the pandemic had taken on the well-being of nurses. Our most recent evidence shows that it is not only continuing to have a detrimental impact but is worsening. The remaining nurses have little choice but to engage in industrial action, and in some cases, outright strikes, due to the high turnover rate in the nursing field and their concerns over the pandemic’s consequences on patient safety and their coworker’s well-being.
This occurs when there is a sizeable backlog of unmet medical requirements, a rise in medical demand, and a big goal to provide health for everyone worldwide. Rebuilding our healthcare systems requires the nursing staff to be restored. The fulfillment of universal health will remain a pipe dream without a worldwide nursing workforce.
At the University of Technology in Sydney, James Buchan, an adjunct professor, said, The lack of action and the absence of a long-term vision and a strategy for the global nursing workforce are the direct causes of the current crises. The pandemic’s traumatic effects have left the nursing workforce in terrible shape, and now they must also shoulder the weight of rebuilding our health services.
The global health system cannot be rebuilt unless enough nurses are highly motivated, educated, and supported. For the nursing workforce worldwide to be effective in its crucial role in rebuilding our health systems, we need to see coordinated policy responses, both within nations and internationally.
The research suggests that governments take immediate action and make better plans to address the current issue. The World Health Organization/ICN 2020 State of the World’s Nursing report must be updated. Assessments of how government policies affect the nursing workforce must be conducted, commitments to support early access to full vaccination programs for all nurses must be made, and safe staffing levels must be implemented correctly, among other urgent measures.
Plans should also put in place the nation’s ability to produce enough nurses on its own, spend money on attracting and keeping nurses, and enhance the prospects for their career advancement.
Additionally, there should be a commitment to investing in nursing workforce sustainability in small states, lower-income states, and fragile states, which were severely affected by the pandemic and are most at risk of losing their nurses to international recruitment. These states were also most affected by the pandemic and are at the greatest risk of losing their nursing workforce to international recruitment.
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