Non-nurses to provide care in China


Health ministry leaders in China have announced a plan to utilize non-nurse volunteers in hospitals. “Apart from nursing students, we are also going to recruit people without nursing backgrounds to provide help in hospitals,” said Guo Yanhong, an official in charge of nursing affairs of the Ministry of Health, citing examples of non-nurses providing interpreting services after a recent earthquake.
While the role of non-nurse volunteers has yet to be clarified, China only has 1.4 nurses per 1,000 people — a number that represents a virtual nursing boom over the last five years. Previously, China only had 1 nurse per 1,000 people and many families hired private, untrained caregivers to attend to hospitalized relatives.

The Ministry of Health, however, recently emphasized its committment to quality nursing care. The Ministry plans to recognize almost 1000 outstanding nurses and hospitals before year’s end and has recommended the use of primary nursing to improve care.

Do you think China is moving in the right direction? Will non-nurses be a help — or hindrance — to Chinese nurses?

Jennifer Fink, RN, BSN
Jennifer is a professional freelance writer with over eight years experience as a hospital nurse. She has clinical experience in adult health, including med-surg, geriatrics and transplant; she also has a particular interest in women’s health and cancer care. Jennifer has written a variety of health and parenting articles for national publications.

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