Steven L. Baumann, Contributing Editor
Nursing Issues in Hong Kong
Steven L. Baumann, RN; PhD
Associate Professor, Hunter College of the City University of New York, New York Changes in nursing in Hong Kong over the past decade have had more to do with the changes in the world and the region’s economy and population than the changes instituted by the Republic of China. Hong Kong’s nearly 7 million people’s health is, like in other places, threatened by a shortage of skilled and experienced nurses. Hong Kong’s three major university-based nursing programs, if they can work together creatively, have the potential to avert a decline in quality of healthcare in Hong Kong and advance nursing at the same time.
It has been 8 years since the government of The Republic of
China took over control of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom, but from reading David R. Thompson’s well written column on nursing issues and challenges in Hong Kong today, it does not seem that political change has affected nursing or healthcare very much. Ironically, what has affected nursing and healthcare in Hong Kong, as it has elsewhere in the Pacific Rim and West, are the realities of capitalism, in particular the globalization of trade and commerce. Thompson points out that before the central administration of the public hospital system in Hong Kong encouraged the early retirement of senior and experienced nurses to help close budget deficits related to city wide recessions, there was no nursing shortage in Hong Kong. Thompson suggests that if nurse leaders were more involved in such budget and staffing decisions, particularly those equipped with the findings of nursing research on healthcare and nursing, then the current shortage of nurses in Hong Kong might not exist, or at least not be so severe. In other words, the issues that face nursing in Hong Kong today...