Journal List > Korean J Adult Nurs > v.25(6) > 1076232

Korean J Adult Nurs. 2013 Dec;25(6):701-711. Korean.
Published online December 31, 2013.
© 2013 Korean Society of Adult Nursing
Current Situation and the Forecast of the Supply and Demand of the Nursing Workforce in Korea
Boon Han Kim,1 Bok Yae Chung,2 Jin Kyung Kim,3 Ae-young Lee,4 Seon Young Hwang,1 Joon Ah Cho,1 and Jung A Kim1
1College of Nursing, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.
2College of Nursing, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea.
3Department of Nursing, Gangneung Yeongdong College, Gangneung, Korea.
4College of Nursing, Sungshin Women's University, Seoul, Korea.

Corresponding author: Kim, Jung A. College of Nursing, Hanyang University, 17 Haengdang-dong, Seongdong-gu, Seoul 133-791, Korea. Tel: +82-2-2220-0799, Fax: +82-2-2297-8613, Email:
Received December 16, 2013; Revised December 21, 2013; Accepted December 23, 2013.



The plan proposed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in 2012 did not reflect the position of nurses and focused only on how to increase the number of nurses. There is a need for coming up with a specific and viable alternative plan considering the qualitative aspect of nursing, delegation of nursing tasks, the in-death analysis of the reasons for leaving the nursing profession, and the legal standards based on varying nursing tasks.


Drawing on a review of existing literature, this report was written to examine policy directions and the factors that influence the institutional environment that regulates the supply and demand of the nursing workforce in Korea.


Implementing the government's plan for introducing a new type of nurse, the registered practical nurse, which generally requires a two-year associate's degree, must be reconsidered. Also, a concrete plan to make use of unemployed nurses and to close the salary gap between nurses working at hospitals in cities and those working at hospitals in rural areas must be prepared. Furthermore, there is a need for introducing a new rating system aimed at boosting the quality of nursing care in small-and medium-sized hospitals, thereby increasing the number of nursing professionals who provide high quality care.


In preparation for expected poor quality of care and looming unemployment crisis due to the increase in the number of nursing professionals, a practical and concrete plan for the supply and demand of the nursing workforce should be made. The Korean Nurses Association should mount a profession-wide campaign to make the government formulate a new and viable policy on the supply and demand of the nursing workforce.

Keywords: Nurses; Health policy; Health resources; Staff development; Review


Figure 1
Ratio of nurses to nursing assistants by different types of medical facilities.
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Figure 2
The salary of new nurses by different types of medical facilities, by regions and by nursing rating.
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Table 1
Proposed Changes to the Nursing Workforce Structure
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Table 2
Changes in the Composition of the Nursing Workforce by Different Types of Medical Facilities from 2003 to 2011
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Table 3
Rate of Increase in Hospital Beds by Different Types of Medical Facilities from 2000 to 2010
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Table 4
Change of Number of Registered Nurses and Employment Rate
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Table 5
Nurses' Turnover Rate by the Type and Number of Hospital Beds
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Table 6
Point of Turnover of New Nurses
Click for larger image


This study was supported by a grant from The Korean Council of Deans of Nursing College and Department.

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