Online RN to MSN
Clinical Systems Leadership

Global Nursing – Challenges and Opportunities

The World Health Organization (WHO) regularly monitors health care workforce needs around the globe. From their research, they have identified the 57 countries suffering from a crisis-level shortage of health care professionals, services, and education.

Consider These Statistics:

• According to WHO, in Malawi, there are only 17 nurses for every 100,000 people.
• The faculty to nursing student ratio in developing countries is reported to be as high as one teacher for every 45 students, as compared with a one-to-12 ratio in other parts of the world.
• The World Bank estimates that English-speaking Caribbean nations have 1.25 nurses for every 1,000 people. These locations will have shortage of at least 10,000 nurses by 2025.
• Indian media reports that the country is approaching a nursing shortage near 50 percent due to increasing demand and nurses migrating out of India. The Indian government has created 260 nursing schools to help mitigate this shortage.

Rural Health Care

Depending on cultural norms and needs, various countries are incentivizing their nurses in different ways to get them to move to rural outposts. In Africa, for example, nurses respond to educational and financial incentives; whereas, in Thailand, nurses value good health insurance above all else.

There are also some interesting gender differences around the world. The Maldives does not allow any male nurses. Meanwhile, in India, male nurses are preferred in the remote tribal areas. Some Indian states are reserving spots in their government-funded nursing schools especially for men.

Urban Health Care

There are 33 countries in the world where 80 percent or more of the population live in urban areas. This includes 828 million poverty-stricken people who are living in slums. In the United States, over 82 percent of the nation’s residents live in an urban community.

Some of America’s biggest cities already have a nursing shortage, which is only expected to increase in coming years. Estimates vary, but some studies indicate that up to 55 percent of nurses in the country will be ready for retirement by the year 2020. Meanwhile, these nurses and 79 million of their aging Baby Boomer peers will need more health care services than ever before.

As a nurse, your career path is wide open. Patients are waiting for your clinical skill and compassion, whether you want to work in Arkansas, Australia, or Sub-Saharan Africa. There is no better time than now to advance your knowledge as a leader in creating the future of global nursing.

We encourage you to investigate the online nursing education opportunities at the University of Arizona. Visit us today at

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