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Taiwan’s nurses struggle with low pay and extended shifts

Reporter Vivian Hsiao
Release time:2023/07/06 18:58
Last update time:2023/07/07 19:57
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TAIPEI (TVBS News) — Nurses in Taiwan have become one of the most overworked and underpaid occupations, leading to a significant decline in newcomers joining the field after the pandemic. 

Between December 2022 and June 2023, the Taiwan Nursing and Medical Industries Union (TNMIU) reported that over 1,700 nurses had resigned due to increasing demand for their services and stagnant wages.

 

Shin Kong Wu Ho Su Memorial Hospital Head Nurse Ms. Chen explained, "Our jobs are extremely complex, including ordering meals for patients, performing examinations, and calling for repairs if equipment malfunctions."

She added that they also work 12-hour shifts, which are often extended, making their workload even more demanding. 

As a super-aged society, Taiwan has experienced a rise in the demand for nurses in the post-pandemic era. 
 

Despite the installation of additional hospital beds, increasing the count from 163,000 in 2016 to 170,000 today, the shortage of nurses remains a pressing issue.

Due to the lack of personnel, the average wait time for patients needing hospital beds has risen from 2-3 days to 5 days. 

According to a report from the National Taiwan University Hospital, in April 2023, 44% of patients in emergency rooms had to wait for 24 hours before being assigned a hospital bed, while 25% had to wait for more than 48 hours.

As nurses strive to accommodate the growing number of patients, their compensation significantly lags behind the level of work demanded from them. 

A recent wage slip disclosed by a nurse revealed earnings of less than NT$30,000 per month. 

Today, the average career length for nurses in Taiwan is approximately 6.5 years, which falls significantly short of Japan's average of 15 years and the United States average of 20 years.

If Taiwan fails to match the compensation and benefits offered in the nursing field by other countries, the nation may soon face a shortage of qualified medical personnel to care for its aging population.

The Taiwan Briefing

#Taiwan#nurses#low wages#long hours#overworked

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