Working conditions for Korean nurses have changed little from a decade ago, according to a report released by Korean Nurses Association (KNA)대한간호협회 announced Tuesday.
The report has analyzed the results of the survey on the status of hospital nurses from 2007 to 2016 conducted by Hospital Nurses Association (HNA)병원간호사회 and found their separation rate stood at 15.7 percent last year, only 1.3 percent lower than the 17 percent in 2008.
The average working years were 8.25 years in 2016, the same figure in 2013. The average working years for tertiary general hospitals was nine years and six months last year, and seven years and three months for other general hospitals and eight years for hospitals, respectively.
The association attributed the poor working conditions to the lack of work force and called for putting idle nurses to work by introducing flexible work system, and the overall implementation of the integrated system of nursing and care services.
KNA said the replenishment of work force is not the problem of hospitals but a national issue.
“The shortage of nurses not only aggravates their working conditions but threatens public health but the government has failed to come up with proper measures except for setting up new nursing colleges and expanding admission quotas to the existing ones,” it said. “It has to prevent job transfer by helping them to solve child bearing and rearing problems and come up with steps to put more of the idle nurses back to work.”
The government should also take legal and institutional measures to punish hospitals that don’t hire enough nurses as stipulated by laws, and immediately improve health insurance system to help hospitals meet the work force standard by hiring more nurses, it went on to say.