Two medical staff in a hospital.

Welcome to Week 2

This week explores the global shortage of nurses and the social image of nursing.

The global shortage of nurses is difficult to enumerate with any accuracy. Nurse-to-population ratios are often used to undertake international comparisons, though even these must be interpreted with caution and a number of variables taken into account.

Consider, for example, that some countries limit the number of nurses who may be employed through restricting the resources available to healthcare providers, while others have a deliberate policy to over-produce nurses with the explicit aim of ‘exporting’ them to more wealthy countries – linking the shortage to both the economy and politics.

The professional image of nurses is thought by some to have contributed to a reduction in the initial recruitment and retention of nurses. Examination of the professional image of nurses is a highly complex activity and must be set in the cultural context in which the individual nurse practices. Along with continuing stereotypes portrayed in the media and the status of women, the role of the nurse is subject to continuing gender stereotyping.


Don’t forget to look at other learners’ responses and try to respond to at least one other comment as this will help generate discussion between you. You can also ‘like’ comments that you find particularly interesting or relevant.

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This article is from the free online course:

Nursing in Crisis? Exploring Current Challenges

Coventry University