There are more than 63,000 nurses missing in Italy, with the greatest shortages recorded in the North (27,000 units), followed by the South and Islands (23,500) and Center (13,000). And this despite the fact that in 2020 the relative degree was the only one among those in the health sector to certify an increase in applications, equal to almost 8% and compared to a decrease in the others. This was denounced by the National Federation of the orders of the nursing professions (Fnopi), through a press release.
The Italian numbers
Covid, hundreds of measures for unvaccinated health professionals in Italy
This is a situation, explains Fnopi, for which, without a solution to this lack of staff, “the one who risks most is assistance, but also the application of the PNRR, which focuses entirely on territorial assistance”. Yet, the Federation emphasizes, that of the nurse is “the profession of the future and it is with greater responsibilities, specializations and non-fungibility of the profession”. The comparisons with other realities, including foreign ones, are evident. “Abroad, all of this is already there and nurses, for example in Spain, France, the United Kingdom, are also prescribers of non-specialist drugs and medical devices”, writes Fnopi. But the deficit is evident: the nurses-inhabitants ratio in Italy is 5.5-5.6 nurses per thousand inhabitants, one of the lowest in Europe according to the OECD, while the nurses-doctors ratio, which should be according to international standards 1 to 3 it is, again according to the OECD, less than 1 to 1.5.
The possible operational solutions against the shortage
To cope with this situation, Fnopi experts have proposed a series of short, medium and long-term solutions, “with particular attention to private and conventioned housing and internal and disadvantaged areas”. In the short term, the Federation’s note reads, “there is for example the overcoming of the exclusivity constraint that today binds nurses in the employment relationship with the public health service and the possibility of self-employment in support of social and health structures territorial “. To remedy the lack of staff, then, “projects aimed at guaranteeing support in terms of nursing assistance services by the Health Authorities to the territorial residential structures, with activities carried out outside the working hours and remunerated to part”. A legislation to be re-evaluated, to encourage membership, is that of “incentive paths for ‘detachments’ or ‘commands’ from the hospital healthcare company to the territorial social and health structures, favoring the territorial rapprochement of the employee considered the residence”. Therefore, to support the accreditation of social and health structures “as internship venues for degree courses in nursing to enhance the possibility of carrying out curricular internships by students of the three-year period”. In the medium term, however, the proposal is to try to remodel the rules of “accreditation of the structures in relation to the evolution of citizens’ needs, to enhance the nursing profession in the territorial social and health structures, to foresee a development in a clinical key to actualize the it is necessary to have greater relevance to the complexity and type of career assistance and from the managerial point of view and to adapt the training contingents and enhance the skills economically and from the point of view of responsibility and autonomy “. Finally, in the long term, the idea would be to facilitate the return of Italian nurses who emigrated abroad with incentives in contractual and economic terms. To date, according to estimates, about 20,000 Italian nurses work abroad.