A severe global shortage of nurses is putting the lives of millions of people at risk and is particularly worrisome at a time when the world is doing battle with the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organization collected data from 191 countries and found that the critical work performed by nurses in some countries is frequently undervalued.  Instead of celebrating their skills and compassion, the survey finds nurses too often are abused, subject to discrimination, and work long hours under stressful conditions for low pay.

Nurses account for more than half of all the world’s health workers. They are the backbone of any health system.  The report shows there are just under 28 million nurses worldwide, which leaves a global shortfall of nearly six million nurses.

The greatest gaps are found in countries in Africa, South East Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean region and some parts of Latin America. The report notes many wealthy countries are not producing enough nurses to meet their own needs, so, they employ nurses from poorer countries at higher wages than they can earn at home.

Evidence shows that infection rates, medication errors, identifying a deteriorating patient, mortality rates are all higher where there are too few nurses. Shortages exhaust our current nursing workforce with high levels of stress, burnout, and high turnover rates.

To learn how to recruit and retain nurses, visit SelfCare for HealthCare™. Contact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility.  Interested in LeAnn Thieman’s keynote speaking, training and workshops? Email lthieman@leannthieman.com.