Nursing shortages in Norway and England: Status quo, implications and policy interventions


Publication date



Oslo and Akershus University College

Document type


Master in International Social Welfare and Health Policy


Nursing shortage or the shortage of nurse workforce is a global public health crisis affecting both the developed and developing countries alike. Because nurses are the frontline in most health systems, the lack of them thereof, is a hindrance in delivering effective health care service to the world population. The critical demand of nurses is severe in the Sub-Saharan region and East Asia that are still suffering from the double burden of diseases, i.e. AIDS/HIV, and infectious diseases such as malaria. An estimation of 600 000 nurses, for instance, are needed in Sub-Saharan region to meet the United Nation’s (UN) Millennium Goals (MDG). The developed countries of Norway and England may not face the same health problems that come with the double burden of diseases and nursing shortages. However, challenges, such as, global financial crisis, cost containment, a ‘double whammy’, low inflow and high outflow of nurses from the workforce are some of the many factors that affect the need for more nurses. The underlying multiple factors of burdensome workloads and poor working conditions are increasing job-related burnout and dissatisfaction. Consequently, these further generate a vicious cycle of turnover and outflow of nurses from the workforce. The content analysis approach of international and national policy frameworks, recent media attention and published studies on the subject of nursing shortages in England and in Norway, are the primary sources for analyzing the status quo, implications and policy interventions of nursing shortages in both countries. In addition, this thesis is aiming to attempt to uncover the possible short-term and long-term solutions in light of national and international policy frameworks on recruitment and retention of nurse workforce.


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