the nursing shortage

Nurses filling in staff shortages more likely to go on sick leave

Nurses are being offered bonuses to work extra shifts this summer, in many places because nursing students have refused to accept the wages offered for filling in as permanent staff go on holiday. But the nurses who work extra are more likely to go on sick leave once they reach autumn.

"Our staff works the entire summer which means they are very tired by autumn, we've seen an increased absence of staff due to illness because of this," said Lars Mähler, chief of staff at Örnsköldsvik Hospital.

Twelve of seventeen regional authorities are offering these bonuses to work extra, according to a survey by the trade union the Swedish Association of Health Professionals.

Ten of the regional authorities, who have responsibility for health care in Sweden, say they are facing an acute nursing shortage.

Another method of filling in the gaps is asking retired nurses to come back in, but the Health Professionals Assocation thinks this could risk patient safety.

"We see pensioners filling in in all types of health care services, and there are risks there depending on how long someone has been retired because health care develops all the time," says chairperson Sineva Ribeiro to Swedish Radio.

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