Currently, with nearly 6,000 nursing vacancies in Switzerland the sector raises the alarm, reports 20 Minutes.
According to the latest figures, there are a record 5.761 unfilled nursing positions in Switzerland. At the same time in 2019 there were 4,716, 18% fewer. Vacancies now represent around 3% of the 185,600 nurses currently working in Switzerland.
According to x28, an online recruitment business, the rise in vacancies in the sector is due to overwork, exhaustion and frustration due to the Covid pandemic. During every wave we hoped our team would be increased but nothing happened, said one nurse. Now we face a fourth wave but have fewer personnel than at the beginning.
These days there are no crowds on the streets cheering nurses on like there were at the beginning of the pandemic. The crowds now are more likely to be denouncing the vaccines helping to keep people out of hospital.
Yvonne Ribi from the nursing association is shocked at the number of nurses who are quitting because they see no future. There are areas where close to half of the experienced staff have left, she said. This has left those remaining with more work, leading to a higher chance of error. In the current setting it is close to impossible to maintain the required level of service, said Ribi.
Even without the overload of Covid-19 a nursing crisis was looming. As Switzerland’s population ages more nurses will be required. Between now and 2029 almost 40,000 extra nurses will be needed, according to one forecast. And although cantons have doubled nurse training over the last 10 years, there are still too few new nurses to fill vacancies.
In addition, turnover is high among nursing trainees. More than a third quit at the end of their training, said a union nursing specialist. The workload is huge and some end up injured or burnt out. One study showed that 70% had sleeping problems and nearly half felt exhausted.
On 28 November 2021, Swiss voters will be asked to vote on an initiative aimed at increasing pay and improving working conditions in the nursing sector. However, the government thinks to plan goes too far and has come up with an alternative that involves investing CHF 1 billion in care worker training over the next 8 years.
With pressure to reduce runaway healthcare costs on one side and overworked healthcare workers on the other the challenge looks daunting.