Overworked and Understaffed Health Workers – 247 News Around the World

Nursing Day 2023: Why isn't the profession very popular with Indians?
Studies have shown that when hospitals and other healthcare facilities have adequate nursing staff, patient safety improves and mortality rates decrease.

Nurses in India are overworked and not recognized. The WHO recommendation is three nurses for a population of 1000 people. In India, the ratio is 1.9 per 1,000 people.

According to the WHO, around 27 million men and women work in the nursing and midwifery sector worldwide. Interestingly, this accounts for only 50 percent of the global health workforce. Nurses play an indispensable role in health promotion, disease prevention and the delivery of primary and community health care.

Studies have shown that when hospitals and other healthcare facilities have adequate nursing staff, patient safety improves and mortality rates decrease.

Why is nursing not desirable in India?

Healthcare facilities will always need nurses. However, due to the existing social stigma attached to nursing, poor working conditions, inadequate pay, lack of educational opportunities and poor leadership qualities, the profession has become undesirable for many. Below are some reasons that contribute to the nursing shortage.

Bad pay and bad working conditions

The nursing shortage is a complex problem that has more than one cause. One of the main causes is the lack of a fixed minimum wage according to their qualifications and poor working conditions. According to studies, specialist nurses in India have difficulty finding standard jobs that recognize their qualifications. Most of them are bound to work in poorly structured roles. They don’t get much attention when it comes to pay and recognition.

Must be ready to work

Many nurses who might find employment may not have the necessary qualifications to work in specialized areas. Much like medicine, nursing is a long learning journey that can branch into specialty areas. It can take up to 9 to 10 years to become a well trained ICU nurse or someone working in neurosurgery or cardiology.

Bad recognition

There are a handful of healthcare institutions in India that are embracing the changing roles of nurses and offering them opportunities that match their qualifications. Elsewhere, caregivers still struggle to be recognized within and outside the system and to exercise autonomy when it comes to making independent decisions.


Most of the nursing staff in India are overworked due to the identified shortage. The World Health Organization recommends three nurses for every 1000 people. The current value in India is 1.9 per 1000 inhabitants. Most of them work exhaustingly and often experience burnouts.

brain drain

A major reason for the shortage of nurses in India is the brain drain to better opportunities abroad. Most nurses, especially the specialized ones, look for jobs abroad. The Gulf States are reportedly a major draw for Indian nursing staff. According to reports, Kerala has the most nursing staff, which is in great demand abroad.

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