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Authorities order increased pay for nurses
By:China Daily
update:September 03,2020

A nurse takes care of a newborn baby at Gansu Provincial Maternity and Childcare Hospital in Lanzhou. (Photo/Xinhua)
Improvement of working environment aims to ease shortage, raise satisfaction
Sept.3,2020 -- Local health authorities and medical institutions are required to raise incomes and improve practicing environments for nurses to increase their incentives and retain such workers, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday.
Front-line nurses will be given preference for performance bonuses, promotions or training, according to a notice released by the commission on Wednesday.
Healthcare institutions are also responsible for protecting the legal rights of nurses, including ensuring their access to payments, benefits, social security programs and protective equipment.
Hospital administrators are asked to factor the development of nursing services into their overall planning and to conduct regular reviews over difficulties confronting nurses.
Hospitals should also avoid using their nursing personnel in non-nursing capacities.
"Nurses should be brought back to clinical settings," the notice said.
Moreover, health institutions are not allowed to reduce the number of front-line nurses at will. In principle, the proportion of frontline nurses should account for no less than 95 percent of their nursing staff, the notice said.
It also encouraged such medical centers to establish flexible shifts for nurses and allocate nursing staff based on the dynamic workload of different departments and time slots.
The document added that hospitals should formulate contingency plans in case of emergencies that might lead to higher demands for nursing.
According to the commission, there were 4.45 million nurses in China as of the end of last year. During the COVID-19 epidemic, nearly 70 percent of the 42,600 medical workers sent to Hubei province-the hardest-hit region in China-were nurses.
Though the number of nurses in China has been growing by hundreds of thousands annually over the past few years, the number of nursing personnel per 1,000 people is still lower than that of developed countries, Jiao Yahui, an official with the commission's medical supervision and administration department, said during a news conference last year.
In addition to addressing a consistent shortage of nurses, Jiao said more efforts are needed to boost their sense of job satisfaction and recognition.
"Some young nurses have decided to quit their jobs due to a mix of personal choices and external factors," she said. "And one major factor is whether their contributions match their salaries."
A report released by the China Social Welfare Foundation in 2017 showed that about 84 percent of surveyed nurses rank salaries and benefits as the top determinants of their career choices. However, only 4.5 percent of them earned over 8,000 yuan ($1,170) per month.
Moreover, 83 percent of them had complained about not feeling respected at work, and 92 percent thought their jobs were regarded as relatively inferior by the public.
Wu Xinjuan, chairwoman of the Chinese Nursing Association, also suggested cultivating more nurses that can meet the demands of society, such as those specializing in elderly care or intensive care.
"We also hope for wider support from society, especially in terms of raising our incomes and facilitating promotions," she said during a news conference in May.
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