Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Why do Chinese nurses leave practice?

Roger Watson, Editor
There is a worldwide shortage of nurses and nurse turnover is an issue facing most health services in most countries and this includes China where the required number of nurses in the years ahead will probably run to tens of millions.  The reasons for nurses leaving practice in China is reported in an article by Zhu et al. (2015) titled: 'A qualitative exploration of nurses leaving nursing practice in China' and published in Nursing Open.  

The study involved in-depth interviews with 19 nurses who had left nursing practice and were theoretically sampled from one provincial capital city in China during August 2009–March 2010.  'Mismatched expectations' described one of the major reasons for leaving and this may be a result of the way people enter nursing in China; in the words of the authors: 'The majority of participants said that they were transferred into nursing studies without true desire to be nurses. While different levels of education between the universities and colleges became fiercely competitive with a market orientation, Chinese students are required to accept the pre-condition for getting a university admission offer ‘I agree to be transferred to other subjects’. Although nursing is an unwelcome career choice in current Chinese society, involuntarily transferring students into nursing studies from other subjects has been taken for granted. As a nursing teacher now, Yuan thought that a lack of proper support for students who involuntarily entered nursing study has a negative impact on students’ learning attitudes and their leaving the nursing practice early.'  Clearly, if more nurses are going to be encouraged to stay in nursing the way that they are
recruited and then the expectations once in practice may have to be reviewed to avoid even bigger problems in future.


Zhu J, Rodgers S, Melia K (2015) A qualitative exploration of nurses leaving nursing practice in China Nursing Open doi: 10.1002/nop2.11

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