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Global Health
May 19, 2020

WHO: Strengthen Nurse Workforce

JAMA. 2020;323(19):1886. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.6430

An urgent global effort is needed to bolster the nurse workforce, according to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Council of Nurses, and Nursing Now, an international campaign to raise nurses’ status.

Based on data from 191 countries, the report found that although the shortage of nurses worldwide improved slightly, from 6.6 million in 2016 to 5.9 million in 2018, an estimated 89% of that shortage, or 5.3 million nurses, is in low- and middle-income countries. About 80% of the world’s nurses are concentrated in countries that are home to only half of the world’s population; 1 in 8 work in a country other than where they were born or trained. An aging nurse workforce may exacerbate the gap, with 1 in 6 nurses expected to retire in the next 10 years.