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Nurse shortage

Update: November, 21/2012 - 10:43

 

A nurse tends to patients at Hai Phong Obstetric Hospital in the northern city of Hai Phong. Research shows that one nurse has to care for six patients during the day and 24 at night.— VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc
HA NOI (VNS)— On a normal working day, Pham Bich Diep, a nurse at the Ha Noi-based Bach Mai Hospital's Emergency Ward, cares for an average of eight patients.

"Night duty can be exhausting because we're usually short-staffed. Sometimes, we have to look after 20 patients each," Diep says.

Due to her stressful job, Diep even sometimes forgets to make a record of her patients' treatment, which is should be one of her responsibilities.

Research carried out by a Vietnam News Agency reporter in 30 hospitals shows that on average, one nurse has to care for six patients during the day, and 24 at night.

The Ministry of Health's Medical Services Administration reported last year that there were 82,900 nurses working at more than 1,000 hospitals across the country. The number of nurses per doctor was 1.8 while the number recommended by the World Health Organisation is at least 4.

The administration's deputy director Pham Duc Muc said that the lack of nurses affected patient care.

The more worrying problem was that it would increase the risk of infection because patients' relatives did not follow hygiene regulations.

It also meant that we were unable to monitor patients efficiently, he added.

Deputy chairwoman of the Viet Nam Nurses Association Nguyen Bich Luu said one of the reasons was that hospital directors failed to instruct head nurses how to assign, manage and supervise work.

Director of the Ben Tre Department of Health Ngo Van Tan pointed out the problems that existed in the province's healthcare sector, such as limited funds, a lack of concern from medical station leaders, downgraded infrastructure and unhygienic conditions.

Nutritional care for patients was not up to scratch due to the shortage of qualified experts, he said.

Nguyen Cong Khan, director of the Ministry of Health's Department of Science and Training, said that the role of a nurse had changed. They were no longer doctors' assistants, they had a specific role to fulfil, and medical schools needed to understand that.

Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien has approved a plan to improve the healthcare sector to 2020, including increasing the number of nurses.

The Ministry of Health is also updating training requirements for nurses. — VNS

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