The consequences of the pressures being added to the shoulders of today’s nurses could be dire for the world’s health care systems.
“This is not only putting severe pressure on the ability of many health systems to deliver current services to their populations but risks seriously undermining efforts to rebuild health services and deliver on universal health coverage (UHC) and the Sustainable development Goals (SDGs),” the report said. “The evidence indicates that the current state of the nursing workforce should be considered as a global health emergency.”
The report largely lays the cause of the staffing shortage at the feet of rising rates of nursing burnout.
“During recovery and rebuild, every working nurse deserves consideration,” the report said. “To avoid many individual nurses reaching breaking point, there is a need to give proper attention to the impact of their rebuild decisions on individual nurses and the nurse workforce. If policy makers focus only at the system level, and ignore the impact on nurses, then nurse retention and longer-term supply will worsen. It is now three years since the pandemic first became apparent, but there is already a substantial and growing evidence base on the nurse workforce impact. The review summarises the rapidly expanding evidence base provided by surveys of nurses, which highlights the risks of high workload, stress and burnout to the sustainability of the nursing workforce.”