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Nurse association warns of strike and group action over Nursing Act

Nurse association warns of strike and group action over Nursing Act

Posted May. 17, 2023 07:55,   

Updated May. 17, 2023 07:55


The Korean Nurses Association strongly opposed to President Yoon Suk Yeol’s veto against the Nursing Act at the Cabinet Meeting held on May 16. The association requested the act to be revoted at the National Assembly, saying, "It would assemble a mission to prepare for the 2023 general elections to hold political leaders accountable." President Yoon said the act was triggering excessive conflict among stakeholders, a comment that intensified the conflicts among stakeholders.

The association is considering taking group action by suspending work performed by Physician Assistants nurses. “We will be discussing detailed action plans in the afternoon and take action from May 17,” said an official with the association. Meanwhile, Medical Solidarity for Health Welfare decided to cancel the full strike scheduled for Wednesday and postpone until the act is voted on again.

PA nurses are nurses that support the medical treatment of doctors, including surgeries. They mostly perform cutting and stitching operations in operation rooms lacking doctor personnel. Though these tasks are not permitted under current law, they have been considered old practices due to resource shortages.

The number of PA nurses is on the rise, reaching 1,091 at national university hospitals in 2021, 37% higher than in 2019 at 797. The medical community estimates the number to exceed 10,000 across the country.

Some voice concerns that suspending PA nurse tasks may disrupt the medical scene. There is no way for the government to prevent the strike because the practice itself is unlawful. “The government is committed to fully executing the comprehensive nurse resource policy measures released last month and taking full responsibility to improve work conditions,” said Minister Cho Gyu-hong of the Health and Welfare, and met with PA nurses at Korea University Hospital.