To alleviate the difficult working conditions and personnel shortages in the fields of obstetrics and gynecology, the Department of Health (DOH) has announced a series of policy changes to become effective this year. to boost the number of medical staff specializing in maternal and childbirth healthcare.
Teng Su-wen (鄧素文), the head of the department’s Bureau of Nursing and Health Services Development, yesterday said the measures aim to reduce the workloads of obstetrics and gynecology nurses and simplify their certification programs.
For example, the credits for online and correspondence in-service development programs for nurses will be increased from 30 points to 60 points. This will make it more convenient for nurses to obtain professional certification and will benefit 110,000 licensed practical nurses, Teng said.
“Nurses are often overburdened in their healthcare tasks, but still have to execute hospital administrative work and nursing appraisal programs. They also have to take in-service development courses to attain professional nursing certifications,” she said.
“The measures are aimed at reducing nurses’ work burden so they do not have to sacrifice their days off,” Teng added.
The department also said it recognized the urgency of ameliorating the shortage of doctors in obstetrics and gynecology — which is attributed to more doctors retiring and fewer medical graduates willing to enter these fields due to an increase in litigation and malpractice lawsuits.
Teng said that from this year, obstetrics and gynecology will be added to the surgery training program for advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) so that nurses can serve as assistants to obstetricians and gynecologists.
Currently, the training program for APRNs is divided into two specialties: surgery and internal medicine. Internal medicine nurses cover the three main fields of general medicine, pediatrics and psychiatry.
“Registered nurses who have a background in surgery can obtain professional certification to become APRNs in obstetrics and gynecology after passing the training programs and both of the qualification examinations in those fields that are held each year,” Teng said.
She added that nurses who are already qualified as midwives can receive training in gynecology and, if they pass the examinations, they can receive an APRN certification in obstetrics and gynecology.
In addition, the department is aiming to upgrade the quality of post-natal nursing care with the launch of an accreditation program to assess the 140 post-natal care centers across the nation that have been in operation for more than one year.
The department’s accreditation will include appraisals of a center’s facility and equipment, how it manages its personnel, an assessment of the quality of nursing care, the quality of its safety procedures and other services. The accreditation will be valid for three years.