The healthcare industry is an important one, but there isn’t always enough help to go around. Here are some areas in the U.K. that have a nursing shortage.
Think about the last time you were at the hospital or the doctor’s office. Almost every time you got screened by a nurse first, right?
At the hospital, you’re checked on by nurses most of the time and only see the doctor once or twice a day. Nurses do everything from bathing patients to administering medication.
Nurses are essential to the functioning of health professions. If we didn’t have nurses, wait times would be months to years for procedures.
That might change in the future. There is a universal nursing shortage, but the UK is suffering from the worst of them.
What is going on with the UK nursing shortage? It’s not that there isn’t interest in nursing.
It’s getting harder to become a nurse. Approximately 2,500 nursing training centers have shut down. This makes young people who’d like to become nurses unable due to distance or cost.
Another reason nursing shortages are happening is because of Brexit. That’s right, it affects the medical community as well.
The nursing community in the United Kingdom has been depending on immigrant nurses. This has been a trend for ten years or more.
Now with the tightened restrictions on work visas, we’re missing those nurses help as well.
Young people can’t become nurses and immigrant nurses are being turned away.
What about the current nurses? Can’t they step it up and fix this themselves?
They’re trying, but it’s dangerous and they’re old. A third of nurses are over fifty years old and on the road to retirement.
The other nurses are already seeing significant levels of understaffing.
A study found that in 2016, 96% of hospitals were unable to fill their day shifts with nurses. 85% of hospitals were unable to keep nurses full on during night-shifts.
There aren’t enough nurses now and it’s only going to get worse.
What exactly does a nursing shortage do, other than telling us there aren’t enough nurses? It makes people in hospitals 20% more likely to die.
We aren’t being dramatic. That’s the actual data from when there aren’t enough nurses on staff. When there aren’t enough nurses, people who are willing to help but are untrained step in.
Untrained professionals (non-nurses) on the hospital staff have to step in and pick up the slack. Slack that the nurses are desperately trying to pick up, but they only have two hands.
When untrained professionals help with nurse duties, hospital fatality goes up 20%.
If we don’t get more nurses fast, people are going to die.
Sometimes, the nurses don’t have that extra, if not ideal help from staff. A nurse recently told reporters that she had to care for sixteen different people on one shift.
When nurses have to take on too much workload, things don’t get done. Those things that don’t get done can be life or death in a hospital.
Imagine if that nurse, already over-worked was helping with a crash cart and one of her 16 patients fell. The patient could die in the time it took her to check back in.
One nurse, when asked how they’re currently getting by at her hospital was very honest. She said that they are cutting every corner they can and are getting good at hiding that.
It is important to re-iterate here that current nurses work extreme hours. They do everything they can do and are trying their best to keep patients safe.
The last thing they want is their patients to suffer from the nursing shortage.
Who is to Blame?
It’s not current nurses for one thing. It is a very complicated sociological question without one right answer. There are many players involved in the nursing shortage.
Nursing schools that have closed their doors are part of the problem. But what about the nursing students who chose a different path? They have some of the blame as well.
Nursing student applications are down 20% since the election in 2016. No good news from the young upcoming nurses there.
The Coalition has some of the blame. A few years back, they stopped collecting vacancy data to save money. This is how they missed the warning signs of the nursing shortage.
The Brexit voters are also to blame, along with pro-Brexit leadership. People who are anti-immigration are unknowingly anti-nurse.
13% of the current nurses are from immigrants, though a third are EU citizens. With the tightening of visas and borders, that number is going to go down even more.
How much those numbers are going to go down is up in the air. Whatever the number is, it will be obvious and push the nursing shortage further into the extreme.
What Can You Do?
If you’re in the EU, try to get into Britain to be a nurse. Before the details of Brexit get mapped out is the best time to try. So do it soon!
The same applies if you aren’t an EU citizen and want to work in the UK. Things are only going to get tighter from here. You need to get in while you can! Not only to get a job and support your family but to save lives that are in jeopardy already.
If you have an expired nursing license, you need to go get it renewed as soon as possible! If you’re a UK citizen and have the capability to be a nurse, it’s your civic duty to step up. Your country needs you.
The lives of UK citizens are on the line.
Where to Apply
If you’re already a nurse and are looking to get hired, you can apply about anywhere. The current statistics on headcounts at hospitals don’t look extreme right now.
Headcounts at some hospitals show about 50-100 lost nurses. Those fifty or so nurses are being sorely missed, don’t doubt it. And those are the hospitals the best off.
Hospitals like East Midlands, North East, London, and Southwest are in the couple of hundred range.
The worst off hospital is Yorks and Humber, who lost about 1000 nurses. This Nursing Times data is from 2009 – 2011 and the current numbers are much, much worse.
This nursing shortage is going to kill people. Please apply to nursing schools and hospitals to keep your country safe.