Mexico needs another 255,000 nurses to adequately meet the medical needs of all its citizens, according to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
The United Nations agency recommends six nurses for every 100,000 inhabitants but Mexico currently only has 3.9 nurses per 100,000 people, a total of 475,295 nurses, according to 2015 data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi).
With 731,223 nurses to attend to a population of approximately 130 million citizens, Mexico would be able to eliminate barriers to access to health care by increasing medical services, the WHO said.
Currently, only Mexico City and Tamaulipas meet the WHO recommendation while Puebla, Querétaro, Veracruz and Michoacán all have fewer than three nurses per 100,000 inhabitants.
The president of the National Nursing Academy said the shortage is not due to a lack of people choosing to pursue a nursing career but rather because there is a lack of positions available in both the public and private health sectors.
“The reality is that there are young people who are interested in studying nursing, there are 700 registered schools . . . What’s happening is that they are not being offered jobs so they can work,” María Alberta García Jiménez said.
She charged that any per-capita nurse-to-population ratio recommendations should be accompanied by petitions to the government to increase the health budget in order to create more nursing positions.
For many nurses who are in employment, the work and pay conditions they face leave a lot to be desired.
A year after graduating as an obstetrics nurse from the School of Nursing and Obstetrics at the National Autonomous University (UNAM), Karen Díaz works six days a week at a private hospital and is, on average, involved in 20 medical procedures per day. Yet she doesn’t receive any employment benefits.
“. . . Salaries are very low. They go from 9,000 pesos to 15,000 pesos [US $475 to $800] a month but you have to accept working six days a week and being on probation for at least two months,” Díaz said.
She explained that she hoped to get a job at a Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) hospital, where benefits and better conditions are offered to nurses.
Source: Excelsiór (sp)