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The nurses in Bulgaria - an ageing workforce

Maria Spasova, Ivanka Stambolova, Milka Vasileva


Introduction: Over the last decade the ageing workforce as a whole and the workforce in healthcare are topics that were a subject of active debates. Health policymakers are faced with the challenge of seeking and implementing different and innovative measures to overcome the imbalance between increasing demand and decreasing supply of workforce.

Materials and Methods: The survey was designated for completion by registered nurses, who are included in the National register of the Bulgarian association of health professionals in nursing. Based on a sample of 22,841 nurses, the average age until September 2017 was calculated. Based on data from the National Statistical Institute, a predictive model for the density of nurses per 100,000 population until 2022 was developed.

Results: In the period 2014-2017, the average age of the working nurses in Bulgaria increased for two years from 50 to 52 and now it is nine years higher than the average age of the nurses in the European Union. The density of nurses per 100,000 population in Bulgaria is two times lower than the average for Europe. If appropriate measures are not taken, the negative trend will continue and in 2022 our country will have a deficit of nearly 22,000 nurses.

Conclusion: The analysis of the data showed that the number of nurses in Bulgaria decreased constantly. The Bulgarian healthcare system is exposed to a serious risk due to retirement of the older nurses and the amount of the nurses, who will approach retirement age in the next five years. Urgent policy and management solutions are needed to overcome the problem so as not to compromise the quality of nursing care in our country.


nurses; a workforce; ageing



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