A global shortage of Registered Nurses (RNs) has been reported
internationally, and confirmed in South Africa by the National
Audit of Critical Care services. Critical Care Nurses (CCNs)
especially are in great demand and short supply. This has affected
the quality of patient care. The purpose of this study was to
quantify the nursing workforce compared to the requirements of the
ICUs of the hospitals of the Western Cape Province as at 1 January
2005, and the potential supply via the educational institutions. A
descriptive survey was conducted on site in the critical care units
of the private and public sector hospitals of the Western Cape,
using a structured questionnaire. Data were collected on nursing
staff, unit beds, patient admissions, technology, and other staff.
This study demonstrated that the current supply of nurses does not
meet the demand of the critical care units of the hospitals of the
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