The Hidden Reserve of Nurses in The Netherlands: A Spatial Analysis

Frits van Merode*, Wim Groot, Catharina van Oostveen, Melline Somers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Worldwide, nurse shortages constitute a problem, including in the Netherlands. Every region in the country has a shortage of all types of nurses. At the same time, there are large hidden reserves: persons who have been trained as a nurse but do not work in the healthcare sector. The size of the hidden reserve exceeds the shortage of nurses. Until now, the literature has not paid much attention to spatial aspects of the nursing shortage problem. In this paper, we analyze the size of the hidden reserves and how they are distributed over the country, across large and smaller cities, and across different nurse categories. We find that especially densely populated areas have relatively small shares of trained nurses as well as large hidden reserves relative to their population. These areas are also facing the largest nurse shortages. As nurse labor markets are local, policies that are more focused on local situations are necessary to activate these hidden reserves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1353-1369
Number of pages17
JournalNursing Reports
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

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