Nursing law enacted even for candidate Lee Jae-myung … Can it be dealt with promptly?

Nurses and nursing students are urging the enactment of a nursing law in front of the National Assembly at 11 am on the 5th. [사진=대한간호협회 제공]
Nurses and nursing students are urging the enactment of a nursing law in front of the National Assembly at 11 am on the 5th. [2021.01.05]

[헬스코리아뉴스 / 박원진] The debate over enacting the Nursing Act is hot. As of 5 o’clock on the 11th, the petition for enactment of the Nursing Act has exceeded 220,000. Even as the bitter cold continues, led by the Korea Nursing Association and Nursing School students, one-man protests continue in front of the National Assembly. The same goes for every Wednesday meeting. Everyone is demanding that the Nursing Act be enacted.

In the end, Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung expressed his clear support for the nursing law finances through social networking services on the 11th. Candidate Lee posted on his SNS that day, “‘I am a nurse who wants to remain with the people. The petition from the Blue House, stating that the enactment of the Nursing Act is necessary, has received more than 200,000 signatures within a week. It was the clearest answer among the presidential candidates.

In this regard, the National Health and Medical Industry Labor Union said in a statement on the 12th, “The COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years has confirmed how important it is to secure nursing personnel for medical response.” It is urgent to prepare a law for a comprehensive and systematic nursing policy. It is necessary to discuss the pending security bill in the National Assembly as soon as possible,” he said.

Nurses who come in and leave… Repeat vicious cycle of shortage of nursing staff

Population aging, changes in the medical environment… When changing the health care paradigm to health promotion

Due to the rapid aging of the population, our health care environment is rapidly changing, including the increase in chronic diseases. With the rapid increase of the elderly population and the number of chronic diseases, the health care paradigm is changing from medical treatment to health promotion and care. Many people inside and outside the medical field cite this environment as the reason for the enactment of the Nursing Act.

The same is true of medical institutions. The demand for nursing manpower is increasing due to changes in the health and medical environment, and nursing manpower is positioned as a key manpower in health care policy. In fact, the number of active nurses per 1,000 people in Korea is 4.2, which is only half of the OECD average of 7.9.

The number of nurses has more than doubled in the past 17 years and has increased by 10,000, but there are very few clinical nurses who remain in the field to care for patients. Among licensed nurses, 75.4% of registered nurses are employed, but only 54.6% of them are working in health care institutions.

According to data from the Ministry of Health and Welfare as of 2020, the average turnover rate of nurses in Korea is 15%, which is three times that of the entire industrial group (5.3%). In particular, the turnover rate of new nurses reaches a whopping 45%, and in the case of clinical nurses with less than 5 years of experience, half of all clinical nurses. This means that there are fewer experienced nurses needed in the medical field. Poor working conditions such as irregular shifts and night shifts at medical institutions are driving nurses out of the medical field.

Korea’s nursing workforce policy can’t get rid of the old habit of controlling only the price

Problems directly related to shortage of nursing manpower, patient safety and quality of nursing services

In retrospect, the nursing workforce policy so far has followed the ‘structure in which placement is left to the market and only price is controlled by price’. Since there was no institutional support, the manpower policy continued to be indistinguishable from the fee policy. As a result, the structure in which nursing policies are determined according to the level of service rather than prioritizing the training, arrangement, and quality improvement of human resources necessary to provide appropriate services has been repeated.

The continuous turnover has also had an effect on the skill level of nursing personnel. The shortage of highly skilled nursing personnel has consistently caused problems in patient safety and quality of nursing services. Therefore, it is urgent to establish a comprehensive and systematic plan to solve the nursing workforce problem.

In this regard, on September 2, last year, the health and medical union agreed to revise and promote major policies to solve the nursing workforce problem through labor-hour negotiations with the Ministry of Health and Welfare. It was decided to establish and implement appropriate manpower standards (from 2022) by setting priorities such as nurses, while reorganizing the nursing rating system based on the number of patients per nurse (ratios) (2022). The full expansion of the integrated nursing care service (for five years from 2023), the reorganization of the predictable and regular shift work system (from March 2022), the eradication of illegal medical care and clarification of the scope of work were also agreed upon at the time.

Shin Kyung-rim, president of the Korean Nursing Association, speaks at the 'Nursing Assembly for Enactment of the Nursing Act and the Elimination of Illegal Treatment and Illegal Medical Institutions' held in Yeouido, including in front of the National Assembly, at 11 am on the 8th. [사진=이지혜] (2021-12-08)
Shin Kyung-rim, president of the Korean Nursing Association, speaks at the ‘Nursing Assembly for Enactment of the Nursing Act and the Elimination of Illegal Treatment and Illegal Medical Institutions’ held in Yeouido, including in front of the National Assembly, at 11 am on the 8th. [사진=이지혜] (2021-12-08)

“9.2 Implementation of the Labor Union Agreement … In the end, the Nursing Act is an alternative”

An official from the nursing industry told Health Korea News, “The 9.2 labor union agreement is a social agreement. Therefore, the government’s willingness to implement it is important, and it is essential to establish a detailed implementation plan to check it. I need this,” he said.

The official said, “The current nursing law pending in the National Assembly can be an alternative,” said the official. .

The nursing industry says that, above all, it is very important to prepare appropriate ratios for the provision of appropriate nursing services in medical institutions in order to solve the current nursing workforce problem. The policy direction for the scope of duties and collaboration system through the Nursing Act is established through governance (Nursing Policy Deliberation Committee), and the necessary allocation ratios are determined (adequate manpower standards are established), and accordingly, the policy direction to ensure proper training and proper placement. If it is established (reorganization of the nursing grade differential system), it can be an institutional device that can realize the 9.2 labor-management agreement more quickly.

In some areas, the need to supplement the proposed nursing law is also raised. To overcome the overlap with the current Health and Medical Manpower Support Act, clarify that the comprehensive nursing plan should be established according to the health and medical manpower plan, or set the Nursing Policy Review Committee as a subcommittee under the Health and Medical Manpower Support Act under the Health and Medical Manpower Support Act. That’s the same problem with doing

The question is whether the bill will be discussed as soon as possible. There are three nursing laws currently pending in the National Assembly, and 94 members of the ruling and opposition parties, including the Democratic Party, the People’s Power, and the People’s Party, put their names on the proposal. These bills went through a public hearing in August of last year and a bill review by the Health and Welfare Committee on November 24, but there has been no movement since then. As of now, it is impossible to even predict when it will be processed.

Through the performance of throwing nurse practice gowns into the tin trash can, they expressed their will that the future of nursing cannot be guaranteed in a situation where the Nursing Act has not been enacted, and that even a Korean nurse cannot survive. [사진=대한간호협회 제공]<br>” src=”http://www.hkn24.com/news/photo/202201/324178_193793_1749.jpg”><figcaption>Nursing students gathered in front of the National Assembly building at 11 a.m. on the 5th showed their will through a performance of throwing nurse practice gowns into tin trash bins, saying, “If the Nursing Act is not enacted, the future of nursing cannot be guaranteed, and even as a nurse in Korea, you cannot live.” are doing [2021.01.05]</figcaption></figure></div>

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“The Nursing Act is not a law for nurses, so why can’t you call me?”

“Members of the National Assembly are not willing to deal with the bill because they are noticing the medical community”

The nursing industry, including the Korean Nursing Association, believes that the delay in coordinating positions despite so many lawmakers participating in the bill’s proposal is due to the lack of will to deal with the bill. The Korean Medical Association, which wants to maintain the medical law system, and the Korean Hospital Association, which has a burden on the standards for nursing personnel, are facing opposition.

Shin Kyung-rim, president of the Korean Nursing Association, recently expressed a sense of frustration as the passage of the National Assembly was delayed. “As we saw in the COVID-19 pandemic, I urgently realized how important it is to secure medical personnel such as nurses in a catastrophic medical crisis,” he said.

Chairman Shin said, “It is difficult to understand why the Nursing Act is not passed by the National Assembly even though it is not a law for the benefit of nurses. The enactment of the Nursing Act is the right way to protect the lives and safety of the people and patients, and we cannot hesitate any longer.”

The health and medical union also said, “When enacting the bill, it is necessary to carry out a delicate mediation work that can cause conflicts between direct translations. In addition, if there is a need to adjust the bill, it is necessary to actively express opinions and coordinate the bill based on rationality.”

The health and medical union said, “The appearance of delaying resolution without any coordination through dialogue and compromise is neglecting the responsibility of the National Assembly and the government.” We need to enact the Nursing Act as soon as possible,” he urged.

Nursing students across the country have announced that they will reject the national nurse examination and take a leave of absence from the alliance if the Nursing Act is not enacted soon. Can the enactment of the Nursing Act, in which even candidate Lee Jae-myung declared his support, be enacted as soon as possible? The nursing industry is watching the parliamentarians’ every move holding their breath.

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