The nursing field has been reported to experience labour shortages in the recent past (Kingma, 2007). In most industrialized nations like the UK, the U.S, and Australia, there has been a discrepancy in the demand for healthcare services and the supply of healthcare services (Kingma, 2007; WHO, 2003). Because of the poor healthcare policy and resource allocation, these countries have been experiencing shortages as nurses are migrating to countries with better healthcare policies and well distributed resources. The inability to retain or attract midwives and nurses has led to the high labour shortages in nursing and midwifery practise (WHO, 2003).
According to the current healthcare policy, the Medicare rebates for equity have been increased as well as the number of healthcare consumers in need of medical attention (Janda, 2012). Given that Medicare is offered in the public hospitals, healthcare providers and nurses in these hospitals will have to extend their services to the increased population seeking medical and other healthcare related services. However, the increase in the number of people requiring healthcare services (consumers) is expected to affect the nursing sector industry as currently, the numbers of nurses are low (Weiner & Tilly, 2002). As a result, problems will be created since the high demand will result in decreased supply of services. Although this problem has been addressed by the policy, it is sidelined as it does not address the issue of nurse shortage in healthcare centres.
The ‘baby bloomer’ generations are retiring and getting older characterized by chronic illnesses which require more healthcare attention and services (Weiner & Tilly, 2002). However, as the old retire despite their increased health needs, there exists a discrepancy as the number of nurses is getting low. Additionally, the nurses work in poor working conditions, and they are underpaid. The poor working conditions de-motivate the employees (nurses) and even expose them to diseases which jeopardize their health. Consequently, the nurses are migrating to other nations which have better working conditions and better pay.
The salaries and retention fees rewarded to nurses and midwives are very low. According to WHO (2003), this has prompted nurses and midwives to take more than two jobs in order to sustain themselves. As a result, the act has led to high potential clinical errors resulting from fatigue and long working hours. Therefore, there exists a battle as healthcare providers are unable to get adequate staff and funds to sustain the available nurses (Weiner & Tily, 2002). At the same time, the healthcare sector is unable to attract new nurses to provide healthcare services.
Janda, M. (2012). Warming health insurance changes cement two-tier system. Web.
Kingma, M. Nurses on the move: A global overview. Health Service Research, 42(3), 281–1298.
Weiner, J. M., & Tilly, J. (2002). Population ageing in the United States of America: Implication for public programmes. International Journal Epidemiology, 31 (4), 776-781.