J Nurs Res. 2023 Nov 20. doi: 10.1097/jnr.0000000000000585. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Salary impacts nurse retention rates and thus is a factor affecting the nursing shortage both in Taiwan and around the world. Nurses in Taiwan earn a low salary compared with other health professionals and may be undervalued compared with their international counterparts.
PURPOSE: This study was designed to analyze the factors associated with nurse salary (NS) in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and to compare NS in Taiwan with those in OECD member states.
METHODS: Data were extracted from the OECD statistics database and official statistics for Taiwan. For the 28 OECD member countries considered in this study and Taiwan, 21 indicators characterizing healthcare systems, including demographics, socioeconomic status, health behaviors and risks, healthcare resources, health financing, healthcare utilization, health outcomes, and economic inequality, were examined for the period of 2009-2018. A random-effects model (REM) and a fixed-effects model (FEM) were used to investigate the associations between these indicators and annual NS levels. The expected annual NS for Taiwan was estimated and compared with the actual NS for Taiwan using the REM.
RESULTS: In the REM, higher NS in OECD countries was shown to be positively associated with gross domestic product per capita (0.49, 95% confidence interval [CI] [0.41, 0.56]), proportion of population aged 65 years and over (2.72, 95% CI [2.17, 3.26]), crude birth rate (1.02, 95% CI [0.56, 1.49]), number of computerized tomography scanners per million population (0.26, 95% CI [0.17, 0.35]), alcohol consumption per person (0.94, 95% CI [0.26, 1.61]), and prevalence of obesity (0.64, 95% CI [0.40, 0.89]) and to be in inversely associated with infant mortality rate (-3.13, 95% CI [-3.94, -2.32]), bed density (-0.99, 95% CI [-1.72, -0.25]), number of hospital discharges (-0.08, 95% CI [-0.11, -0.05]), household out-of-pocket expenditure as a percentage of health expenditure (-0.34, 95% CI [-0.56, -0.11]), and the Gini coefficient (-0.25, 95% CI [-0.50, -0.01]). The FEM results were similar to those of the REM. The predicted annual NS for Taiwan based on the REM rose from 29,390 U.S. dollars (corrected for purchasing power parity; 95% CI [22,532, 36,247]) in 2009 to 49,891 U.S. dollars (95% CI [42,344, 57,438]) in 2018. The actual annual NS in Taiwan in 2018 was approximately 12% lower than the model-predicted value.
CONCLUSIONS/IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Taiwan has a lower NS compared with its OECD counterparts. These findings may help policymakers, healthcare managers, and nurse organizations develop effective strategies to improve the remuneration system for nurses in Taiwan.