Nursing shortage might total 3,000 openings next year

By Joy Lee, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The demand for nursing professionals next year might exceed supply by 3,000, a health official warned yesterday. Teng Su-wen (鄧素文), head of the Department of Health’s (DOH) Bureau of Nursing and Health Services Development, said that there are many factors behind the expected worsening of the nurse shortage. One is the Ministry of Examination’s scrapping of the junior examination for nursing professionals this year.

“There are around 900 people who become registered nurses through the national exam,” Teng said, “so canceling the exam means we will be short nearly 1,000 more nurses each year.” Sixty-four percent of hospitals increased salaries for nursing personnel last year, successfully attracting more than 4,000 medical personnel — mostly over 30 years old — to return to the profession, she said.

“I worry that there might still be a nursing shortage, because the nursing profession is in desperate need for new people to join.”

According to Teng, the DOH will work hard to improve the work environment for nursing professionals. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Examination also need to come up with solutions to solve the shortage problem in the long term.