The global workforce of 27 million nurses was six million short going into the pandemic, and four million are heading for retirement by 2030, according to the International Council of Nurses.
In a report, the ICN said the pandemic “could trigger a mass exodus from the profession,” from as early as the second half of 2021. The global nurse shortage could widen to nearly 13 million, it added.
“We could be on a precipice,” said ICN chief executive Howard Catton, recalling that it took three to four years of training to produce a novice nurse.
He noted nurses had done a “phenomenal” job “to lead the world through this pandemic,” saying they would share an equal platform with the vaccine creators in the eventual history of Covid-19.
But once the pandemic has passed, frazzled nurses will then have to deal with all the unmet non-coronavirus healthcare needs and waiting lists, whilst also facing likely nursing staff shortages.