Jigmi Wangdi

The high turnover of medical nurses poses a significant risk to the quality of healthcare services in hospitals and clinics in the country. At JDWNRH, the attrition rate of nurses is now approaching 30 percent.

During the commemoration of International Nurses Day on May 12, Health Minister Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk emphasised the grave repercussions of the attrition rate on delivering quality healthcare services.

He said that this trend could pose substantial challenges to the country’s healthcare system. “Today, the workload once managed by 100 individuals is now shouldered by 70 in the hospital. Tasks that were typically handled by four people now require the efforts of only three.”

Lyonpo said that despite the challenges, the number of nurses in the country was steady at around 1,500 but emphasised that these nurses have assumed additional responsibilities in hospitals due to the rise in patient numbers and overcrowding in emergency wards.

The biggest concern facing the sector, he said, was how to maintain the quality.

“I would like to take this opportunity today and plead with our nurses to not resign. To those Bhutanese nurses who are abroad and to those who have resigned and are in the country, I request you to come back,” urged Lyonpo.

Currently, nurses are the healthcare professionals resigning at the highest rate among doctors, dental surgeons, medical technicians, pharmacists, and other health workers and assistants.

The ministry is carrying out multiple measures to retain health workers.

National Medical Service (NMS) holds exit meetings with departing health workers to understand the reasons behind departure of health workers to address pertinent issues.

Lyonpo said that efforts were being made to enhance working conditions of the health workers, such as introducing overtime pay for extended shifts and establishing a clearer career pathway for health workers.

Nurses are recognised as the backbone of healthcare. They are celebrated as champions of compassion and care.

International Nurses Day is celebrated to honour the tireless efforts of nurses who promote health and wellness in local communities and provide compassionate care to their patients.