Nurses who are trained in their region and do not practice there despite the investment made by their community. The cause? Job instability, daily and even hourly contracts, low salaries, shortage of professionals, recognition or not of the specialty, not seeing the professional category they should have recognized… In total, 8,119 nurses have emigrated, most of them to another province or autonomy (6,646) or to another country (1,473), especially Norway.

This was indicated by the president of the General Nursing Council (CGE) this morning in the presentation of the mobility data among these professionals. Pérez Raya has reiterated that “the main reason for this high mobility is none other than the job insecurity that the sector is experiencing and within it the temporary employment and poor working conditions.” And the temporary employment rate among nurses does not drop below 30%, “very far from the 8% set as the objective by the Government, and despite the stabilization OPEs, it continues to be a burden,” he points out.

“Nurses who live linking contracts, often for days and even hours, see how their personal life is affected and it is almost impossible for them to reconcile. Giving up a contract, which is sometimes offered overnight, entails a penalty that takes them directly to the bottom of the job market. How can they not look for another place, whether outside their province or in another country?” Pérez Raya asks.

This mobility not only affects the nurses, but also the patient, since in some regions there is a shortage of professionals. In the opinion of the president of the CGE, “the rule says that in certain services new staff must be tutored, for example, in critical neonatology, where we are talking about very vulnerable patients. The reality is that this is not being done, there are no such tutors,” denounces the nurses’ representative.

According to Diego Ayuso, general secretary of the CGE, Nursing is a profession at this time. “The way to attract nurses is for them to move from another place, hence there is high mobility within the national territory.”

For Ayuso “it is no coincidence that the region with the most nurses (Navarra) is also the one that offers the best conditions to its professionals. But it not only affects the salary, if you work in a service with 10 other colleagues, your care burden is not the same as if you work with half as many. The overload, the stress of not having enough staff also takes its toll, if you see that you cannot care for your patients as they deserve, that is also relevant when choosing to change your address.”

While in Europe the ratio of nurses per 1,000 inhabitants is 8.73, in Spain it is 6.3. Between communities, the disparity is enormous, almost doubling between the one with the most (Navarra, with 8.93) and the one with the least, Murcia (4.74).

But they not only emigrate to other regions, but also abroad. In 2023 alone, 1,473 nurses requested the necessary documentation to practice outside Spain. The main destinations are Norway (336), the United States (226), the United Kingdom (92), Ireland (60), the Netherlands (43) and Australia (41).

Another drama, according to José Luis Cobos, vice president of the CGE, “Spanish nurses are in high demand in the most developed countries in the world. Our training and international prestige make them very valuable to any healthcare system. But this is causing us to lose highly prepared human capital. We invest in training highly qualified professionals who end up going to other countries in search of better conditions, so all the investment in training that has been made is lost. And in exchange we are incorporating nurses from Latin America into our health system. In 2021, the latest data available, the title was approved for 305 non-EU nurses.”

And the working conditions offered, not only for salary or aid for adaptation to the country and housing, but also for developing your professional career, are much better than in Spain, he explains.