China sees growth of millions of nurses in past 70 years

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-06 16:36:03|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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BEIJING, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- The number of registered nurses in China has increased from merely 30,000 to more than 4 million over the past 70 years, the National Health Commission (NHC) announced Friday.

The number has been continuously growing: from some 30,000 when New China was founded in 1949 to over 400,000 in 1978, 1.35 million in 2005, reaching 4 million at the end of 2018, said Jiao Yahui, an official with the commission, at a press conference.

Registered nurses make up nearly 50 percent of the country's healthcare professionals, marking an optimized personnel structure by reversing the long-standing situation where doctors far outnumbered nurses in China, said Jiao, noting that the proportion is 55 percent worldwide.

Highlighting the improvement of nurses' expertise and service capacity in recent years, Jiao said nearly 70 percent of nurses have college degrees or above.

Jiao, however, acknowledged there is a huge shortage of geriatric medical and nursing services for the elderly given the country's fast-growing aging population.

The government will continue to deepen the reform of the nursing service sector to provide more quality services, she added.

China has nearly 250 million people aged 60 and above, of whom more than 40 million are unable to take care of themselves, NHC figures show.