The Global Nursing Shortage: An Overview of Issues and Actions

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Today's global nursing shortage is having an adverse impact on health systems around the world. A major initiative by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) yielded important information regarding the shortage and solutions to it. These are organized into five priority areas: policy intervention; macroeconomics and health sector funding; workforce planning and policy, including regulation; positive practice environments; and retention and recruitment (includes migration); and nursing leadership. Internationally momentum is building, providing the opportunity to bring attention to these issues and to take action. This article presents an overview of the global nursing shortage (which, since 2002, has been termed a global crisis), provides the perspectives of the ICN, and discusses the ICN's initiatives regarding that crisis. Founded in 1899, the ICN is the world's first and largest organization for health professionals. As a federation of national nurses' associations in 129 countries, ICN represents the more than 13 million nurses working worldwide. It works to ensure quality nursing care for all, sound health policies globally, the advancement of nursing knowledge, and the presence worldwide of a respected, competent professional workforce.

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