The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has reported a significant increase in applications to study nursing, but has also found that poor pay and working conditions are discouraging students from joining the profession.
The ICN’s report Nursing Education and the emerging nursing workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic has found that 30% of nursing associations globally have seen an increase in applications into nursing programmes, proving a new-found interest in the profession as a result of the pandemic.
However, the report also found that disputes around pay, conditions and personal protective equipment (PPE) were discouraging current and prospective students from entering nursing.
The report also noted that disruptions to nursing education were taking its toll on nursing students, with many reporting discontent over the handling of the pandemic by education providers.
ICN President Annette Kennedy has attributed the rise in applications to the increased visibility of nursing throughout COVID-19.
“Many people have realised the importance and true value of nursing, ad they want to experience what it is like to provide care in the unique way only nurses can,” Ms Kennedy said.
“[However], the public has also seen in detail the traumas they have faced and the effects these have had on nurses’ health and wellbeing”.
As a result of the report’s findings, the ICN has called on governments around the world to address the issues being raised by nurses, particularly around remuneration and education.
“Nurses need to be able to pay their bills and feed and support their families. I am calling on governments to invest in nurses’ pay and education for now and the future,” Ms Kennedy said.
“This is a commitment that must be written into the heart of the post-pandemic plan”.