Original Research

‘Most nurses in the rural or remote health clinics run away from their job due to no remote allowances and poor working equipment and environment'. Health professional leaders’ perception of shortages in the nursing workforce in underserved areas in Vanuatu


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Adel T Tamata1
MHSM, Lecturer in Nursing Sciences

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Masoud Mohammadnezhad2
PhD, Associate Professor *


1 Vanuatu College of Nursing Education, Ministry of Health, Port Vila, Vanuatu

2 School of Public Health & Primary Health Care, Fiji National University, Suva, Fiji

ACCEPTED: 2 May 2022

early abstract:

Purpose: Health professional leaders are key informants working in the senior levels in various health facilities who deal with policies and planning processes and human resources (HR). This study explores the factors affecting the nursing shortage in Vanuatu and recommends measures and interventions to resolve the shortage.
Methods: A qualitative study was used to collect data from 12 (n=12) health professional leaders using Focus Group Discussion (FGD) method in three randomly selected hospitals in Vanuatu. The qualitative data was collected using semi-structured open-ended questionnaire and were audio-recorded. The data was translated and transcribed and then analyzed using thematic analysis process.
Results: Four themes were identified, these were inadequate planning, increase population growth, nurse turnover and proposed strategies to resolve nursing shortages. Sub themes for inadequate planning were inadequate policy and HR planning and inadequate enrollment. Sub themes for increase population growth were demographics and burden of diseases. Sub themes for nurse turnover were job dissatisfaction, absenteeism and increase medical problem. Sub themes for proposed strategies to resolve the nursing shortage were increase enrolment, infrastructure and capacity building.
Conclusion: The present study has identified key factors affecting current nursing workforce shortages and the recommended measures and intervention to resolve nursing shortages.  The findings will assist the policy makers to refine and develop relevant policies to address and strengthen the Vanuatu Ministry of Health (MoH) nursing workforce.