Chronic Shortage of Nurses: Is There a Solution?
Chronic Shortage of Nurses: Is There a Solution?
  • Reporter Gwak Jun-ho
  • 승인 2018.03.28 13:03
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▲Korea is suffering from chronic shortage of nurses / Newsis
▲Korea is suffering from chronic shortage of nurses / Newsis

The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced a policy promising better treatment and working environment of nurses to solve chronic shortage of manpower. However, the practicality of the policy is left controversial. In case of medical personnel, the manpower is supplied through medical university entrance, so it is difficult to drastically raise manpower supply at once.


According to the The Ministry of Health and Welfare, the entrance quota of College of Nursing has increased by 68.4% since 2008 and additional entrance by transfer from other colleges, but it is not sufficient to catch up the demand. The number of nurses per thousand citizens is 3.5 (2016) which is half of average number of nurses in OECD countries.


The Ministry of Health and Welfare has announced increasing the manpower activity of current medical institutes as the primary solution. According to the ministry, out of 375,000 nurse licensers only 49.6% work at medical institutes. In background, there are many violations of human rights such as severe bullying among co-workers, sexual abuse, having babies in order, but night duty and overwork due to three shifts are highlighted as fundamental reasons. According to ‘investigation of medical institutional conditions from 2011 to 2016’ announced by the ministry, 38.9% of nurses answered ‘overwork and poor working condition’ for changing jobs.


The current three shifts which prevents long-term working of nurses must be reformed first. Also, concentration of manpower supply in the capital area is another issue to be solved. While the number of nurses per thousand is 4.5 in the capital, Chungnam and Chungbuk only had 2.3 and 2.5, respectively.


“The newly announced policy is just the beginning,” said the ministry, “there must be consecutive action plans to deal with layers of problems one by one.”


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