The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health has warned of a more serious shortage of nurses at local hospitals when the number of newly recruited employees does not offset those who quit.
In 2021, about 2,300 students applied to the nursing major at Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine, the health department said on Friday.
This number dropped to only 781 in 2022, equivalent to a 66-percent decrease.
This situation is also increasingly common at other medical schools in the southern metropolis, the health department stated, adding that the shortage of nurses is a very worrying problem, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Working as a nurse is tough, stressful, and comes with a high risk of acquiring infections, but their income remains low, forcing them to quit or change jobs.
Some others decided to work for private hospitals with higher salaries.
In addition, the Ministry of Health promulgates that nurses at public hospitals must graduate from colleges or universities, with tuition costing VND35-40 million (US$1,460-1,670) a year.
To deal with the manpower shortage, the health authorities of Ho Chi Minh City have proposed several short-term solutions, including raising the salaries of nurses and recruiting retired employees who are still able to do the job.
During a meeting with the health department on Thursday, Tran Thi Chau, vice-president of the Vietnam Nurses Association and president of the Nurses Association of Ho Chi Minh City, stated that there should be tuition fee support for nursing students as well as financial assistance for training programs aimed at improving the skills of hospital staff.