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Belgium’s shortage of nurses is worsening

Credit: Belga

The shortage of people pursuing nursing professions is worsening in Belgium, Le Soir reports on Tuesday.

The shortage remains “a status quo at best” and worsening at worst, according to Le Soir, as there is a low number of people enrolling in nursing studies and graduating, while there are 5,000 vacancies in Belgium, the Belgian Association of Nursing Practitioners (ACN) said.

The drop in enrolments in nursing studies can be linked to a reform of the degree in 2016 when the programme was lengthened from three to four years. This “has led to a 10% drop in enrolments,” according to the Federation of Francophone Students (FEF).

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According to the Academy of Research and Higher Education, there was a 20% decrease in enrolments in a nursing bachelor’s degree for the academic year 2018-2019 compared to 2015. The number of first-year students is also declining (2,136 in 2019, compared to 2,805 in 2015).

As for the next academic year, which will begin in September, uncertainty remains. The schools are currently noting at least a 50% drop in enrolments, according to ACN.

“We’ll have to wait until October to have the exact figures because there are the second sessions and late registrations,” said Cécile Dury, director of the paramedical category at Henallux (the University College of Namur-Liège-Luxembourg).

Olivier Gendebien, the president of ACN, is counting on around 2,200 graduates from the French-speaking region, 800 of whom will enter the job market, a number far below the real needs.

The Brussels Times

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