Nurses flee their jobs

Workload, inadequate hospital equipment, risk of burnout - these are the main reasons why many nurses all over the world give up their jobs.In Germany, however, the trend is somewhat different

The immense pressure of the corona pandemic is apparently forcing numerous healthcare workers around the world to give up. This trend is observed in almost one in five of the countries surveyed, said the World Association of Nurses (ICN) in Geneva.

People in the care professions feel left alone

According to the Professional Association for Nursing Professions (DBfK), the problem also prevails in Germany. "Since the beginning of the pandemic, professional carers have often felt left alone, disregarded in their professionalism and endangered in their physical and psychological integrity," said DBfK President Christel Bienstein.

"We have been warning against this since the beginning of the pandemic," she emphasized. The Federal Employment Agency initially did not confirm the trend for Germany on Thursday. There has been an increase in the number of workers in the health sector. Exact figures for 2020 are not yet available.

The World Federation argued that it can be assumed that the workload, the inadequate equipment of the clinics, the risk of burnout and, in general, the stress are the causes of people fleeing their jobs.

"The strain caregivers are under is unacceptable, and it is no surprise that so many feel the pressure and decide that they can no longer continue in their beloved jobs," said ICN President Annette Kennedy. The association has 130 member countries.

ICN calls for better working conditions

The personnel situation is made worse by the structural bottleneck. At the beginning of the pandemic around a year ago, there were six million caregivers worldwide. Another four million would retire due to old age by 2030, it said. Since around 27 million nurses are currently working, this means an enormous loss of personnel, according to the ICN.

That should be a wake-up call for all governments to invest in training new forces. However, it takes three years until they are fully operational. The ICN called for better wages and working conditions, flexible working arrangements, especially for older nurses, and support in coping with the trauma of the past year.

Nursing staff around the world have been strained to the limit. "We still have a chance to protect them, but time is short: It's one minute to midnight and the clock is ticking," warned ICN CEO Howard Catton.

Care professions should become more attractive

There is also a shortage of nursing staff in Germany. In many places, attempts are made to master the problem, for example by intensifying training, using care pools or foreign specialists. In Germany, there was a brief decline in the number of nurses in spring and summer 2020.

During the first lockdown, employees in rehab facilities were temporarily released. "That was a snapshot," said a spokesman for the federal agency. “The number of employees has already risen again over the summer.” From September to December, the number of employees in the areas of “health care” and “homes and social affairs” rose by around 47,000.

Healthcare, including nursing, is one of the few industries that have made it through the past year without any job losses. Politicians are currently trying to create incentives to make the nursing profession more attractive. Among other things, models are discussed how income shares can possibly be made tax-free so that employees have more net salaries.

stress Burnout