Shortage of highly-trained nurses becoming severe issue

Early Red Cross poster by David Henry SouterEarly Red Cross poster by David Henry Souter

A growing shortage of highly trained nurses has professional associations and healthcare organizations concerned. Sectors such as district nursing, nursing hoes and specialist departments in hospitals, like oncology and dialysis, are particularly affected by the "worrying shortage", Sonja Kersten, director of nurses' professional association V&VN, said to broadcaster NOS.

"In district nursing, for example, is a shortage of around 150 highly trained college nurses. In the course of the year that will increase to a thousand", Kersten said. According to her, the shortage leads to patients getting less care. "Sometimes it may even men that when care is needed, it cannot be provided."

Kersten believes that the only way to address this shortage is to get back to the basics and get more people to enroll in courses. "That means we have to start early to make the profession more attractive."

Figures released by Statistics Netherlands earlier this week showed that the number of nurses in the country decreased significantly over past years. End 2014 there were 180 thousand registered nurses in the country, compared to 267 thousand in 2013. The decrease can largely be attributed to nurses having to re-register in the health care register.