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Archived Comments for: Registered nurses in Israel - workforce employment characteristics and projected supply

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  1. we need to think outside the box

    gabi Bin Nun, Ben Gurion University

    19 April 2012

    Health care systems across the OECD are experiencing a shortage of nurses. Israel is exceptional only in the severity of the situation, with Israel's ratio of only 4 nurses per thousand population among the lowest in the developed world. Therefore, the projections presented by the authors of this article (a decline in the ratio from 4/1,000 to 2/1,000 by the year 2028) should be of grave concern to Israeli health system leaders.
    The article identifies the main reasons for the expected decline in the nurse to population ratio, with a focus on a decline in enrollment in nursing educational programs, a decline in the number of new immigrant nurses and a decline in the status of the profession. The article also highlights several important characteristics of the Israeli nursing workforce (such as the age mix, the percent working full-time, and the duration of employment in the profession). One of the article's greatest contributions lies in the sharpening of the forecasts of the continued decline in the nurse/population ratio, in a scenario where policymakers do not undertake major new steps to address the situation.
    In light of the grave projected shortage presented in the article, it seems to me that the solutions suggested are insufficient for addressing the challenge. In addition to expanding nursing educational frameworks, the seriousness of the projected shortage impels us to think "outside the box". This could include rethinking the content of the nurses' work (e.g. employing ER technicians to carry out some of the tasks currently being carried out by ER nurses). In addition, consideration should be given to possible changes in how the work is organized on hospital inpatient wards. Other possible innovative changes should also be considered.
    Professor Gabi Bin Nun
    Department of Health Systems Management ,Faculty of Health management
    Ben Gurion University of the Negev

    Competing interests

    None declared