Why Nurses Leave the Bedside. The Nursing Shortage; A Bedside RN's Perspective
Global RN earnings . A Companion Page to Global Nursing Shortage
Part of Chapter Three: Nursing and Nurses**To: Homepage and Table of Contents**Copyright and Terms of Use** Email Webmistress

"Time to Listen"

Global RN earnings are an inherent part of the Global Nursing Shortage discussed in detail at its own page. 

Nurses world wide are expressing each year more forcefully their own need for change. In the poor countries most in need of their native nurse supply,  this is expressed in exodus to enticement by wealthy countries. But wealthy countries too are competing for each other's nurses. 

This page gives a few examples of the challenge experienced by other [mostly wealthy] countries as nurses express their discontent and unwillingness to work there. 

This page is best understood in context of the page  Global Nursing Shortage  from which it derives and wherein the facts of the nursing shortage for each country here mentioned are given. That page also reviews why it is not moral, neither in our best interests nor that of our worldwide nursing sisters,  to allow our nation to vigorously recruit foreign nurses. 

If you know of any examples that belong on this page, please alert the webmistress.

"The nine-day strike by 27,000 nurses' strike that began on 19 October 1999 was a stark illustration of the tensions surrounding public sector conflict (IE9910297N). It constituted a major test of strength between the government and the nursing unions. The key issue for the nurses was their bid to enhance both their pay and professional status to a level that they felt was commensurate with their qualifications and the demands of their work. The government, for its part, was fearful that further concessions would provoke "knock-on" pay claims elsewhere in the public sector. To this end, the government was quite resolute in its determination to face down the nurses, partly to dissuade other public sector workers from pressing their own claims. In the end the strike was called off after nine days, with the nurses having secured concessions that slightly exceeded what they had already been offered following a Labour Court recommendation (IE9912202N)....The increase in conflict in the public sector is linked to the rise in worker expectations in the context of Ireland's economic boom. Workers expect to receive what they perceive to be a fair share of the proceeds of economic growth before the boom eventually recedes. These feelings have been particularly strong amongst nurses and CIE workers, whose basic rates of pay have traditionally been very low. " Conflict Increases in the Public Sector Eiroonline [european industrial relations observatory on-line]

Northern Ireland:
"Ulster loses 2,000 nurses in two years . Health Minister told to move urgently over staff crisis. By Nigel Gould....Unless the 'valuable'  work of nurses was recognised by providing them with a fair wage then the 'vast numbers'  leaving Northern Ireland to find work overseas would continue.'  [ From Belfast Telegraph > News Publication Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2003 ]

"FIFTY-EIGHT nurses and junior doctors who were sacked after going on strike in 1996 have resolved to march on the offices of the Ministry of Health on Monday next week to press their former employer to pay them salaries covering the past five years.
The Ministry of Health was ordered by the High Court in September to set aside the termination of the workersí contracts of employment, which took effect in October and December 1996. "
The Financial Gazette [British] . Staff Reporter . 4/20/01

England: "Stuff socialism, nurses need a market wage " .
 " The Radcliffe was one of 12, out of 190 NHS trusts, to get nul points. It was too dirty. In some respects it was too dangerous: too many people were checking into the heart centre, and not checking out again. And above all it failed the test of  'patient access', which is the bureaucrats' way of saying that you turned up in a hell of a state, spent a night on a trolley, and were then told to get your coat on and come again some other time.
The reason they 'fail'  is because patients can't gain admission. Patients can't gain admission because there aren't any 'beds' , which is a ridiculous locution. There are plenty of beds, with pillows, sheets, etc. There just aren't enough nurses to make those beds and keep those wards open. The trouble with such hospitals, say the managers, is 'nurses, nurses, nurses' .
The Radcliffe has a new contingent of Filipinos on the way, another 200 or so; and yet it is still 280 nurses short. At any given time, it is about 10 per cent down on its requisite complement of 3,000, because it is so difficult to recruit nurses in Oxfordshire, and so difficult to retain them." Stuff socialism, nurses need a market wage .By Boris Johnson 06/12/2001 [Boris Johnson is editor of The Spectator and MP for Henley]. Presented in  opinion.telegraph.co.UK

"Nursing shortages are also having a serious impact on patient care. In a recent report, Professor Mike Stacey, a vascular surgeon from Fremantle Hospital, stated that 25 percent of patients in public teaching hospitals had pressure ulcers, more than double the prediction rate.Pressure ulcers, or bedsores, are caused by excessive or prolonged pressure on the skin. They can be superficial or very deep, extending to the bone.  Stacey blamed shortages of staff, which resulted in patients not being adequately attended to. 'Most hospitals are having difficulty getting nurses,' he explained. 'When you have a staff shortage it means you have less time to do things like this and they are the easiest things that  get dropped off.......Because of poor pay and conditions, nurses are resigning and seeking casual work with private agencies that pay higher wages. In many hospitals, half or more of the nurses on duty are now temporary agency staff, usually employed for less time per shift than permanent staff, affecting the quality of care and, in particular, continuity and familiarity with patients' needs.' Funding crisis forces hospital emergency closures in Western Australia. World Socialist Web Site. By Joe Lopez  14 December 2000

World Wide Study:
A new survey conducted at the University of Pennsylvania says about one-third of U.S. nurses under the age of 30 plan to leave their job within the next year. Whether in emergency rooms or other departments, nurses are becoming burned out. About 41 percent of U.S. nurses surveyed said they were not satisfied with their current jobs. That's compared to almost 33 percent in Canada, just over 36 percent in England, 37 percent in Scotland and 17.6 percent in Germany. Pressures, demands and rising workloads are driving nurses out of the field. Many nurses say, for the most part, patient care has deteriorated. And some even report verbal abuse on the job. Improving working conditions has been difficult because of financial constraints on hospitals. " CNN.com Transcripts. Aired May 8, 2001

World Wide Study:
ì(University Park, PA) ó In the first systematic study of the problems facing nurses globally, Penn State researchers have found that the nursing shortage is a worldwide phenomenon that is jeopardizing health care and creates stressful working conditions for nurses.
' Ninety of the 105 nursesí unions and organizations in our surveyórepresenting 69 nations and every geographic regionóreported their countries were experiencing a nursing shortage,î' says Dr.  Paul F. Clark, Penn State professor of labor studies and industrial relations. ' This is bound to have a negative impact on the quality of patient care.'' ... 'Also, 44 nursesí associations and unions in 33 countriesóprimarily in Oceania, Africa, Central America and the Caribbeanóreported that the outflow of nurses to more affluent countries was a serious to extremely serious problem,' Darlene Clark says. ' This exacerbates the shortage that already exists in poorer countries and further weakens their healthcare systems.'
'Overall, nursesí associations and unions rank better salaries and benefits and improved patient care as their membersí two highest priorities. The second is all the more significant since registered  nurses have traditionally seen themselves as the patient's advocate,'  Paul Clark notes. 'Other  priorities are professional development, greater voice in the workplace and improved safety and health concerns.' Worldwide Nursing Shortage Has Reached Crisis Proportions/ June 28, 2002 . The College of Heath and Human Development

back to top