This study is aimed at providing a detailed analysis of the nursing workforce in Thailand and monitoring
the supply and demand of the nurse workforce. The study was conducted in order to identify the
size, age structure, and the increasing trend of the current registered nurse workforce and to assess the balance between the supply and demand for nurses in order to understand whether there is any current
shortfall or surplus. The research population consisted of 100,671 nurses registered in the Thai Nursing
Council database. The findings led to the following conclusions:
1. There were approximately 97,942 nurses in the active age group (under 60 years) registered in
Thailand by December 2005. Of these, around 88,440 or 90.3 percent participated in the nursing workforce.
At the same time, owing to the impact of the increasing demand for health services and the decreasing
supply of nursing professionals, their numbers remain woefully insufficient for meeting the country’s
health needs, with the total shortage being on the order of 31,260 full-time equivalents.
2. Although total nurse numbers have been relatively constant during the period 2000-2001, between
2000 and 2004 there was also a substantial overall decrease in the net additions to the nurse population of
35.29 percent (from 6,086 to 3,938) because of the decreases in the production of nurses and the increases
in the loss rate, from 2.35 percent in 2000 to 4.15 percent in 2005.
3. The workforce is aging; the average age of Thai nurses has increased to 37.8 years and the average
working life declined to 22 years, which is typical of most Western countries.
The nursing shortage occurring in health systems is bringing in its wake a serious crisis in terms of
their duration of adverse impacts on the health and well-being of the population. This situation poses
unprecedented challenges for policy makers and planners to take effective action in developing and sustaining
an appropriately prepared, equitably deployed, well-motivated and well-supported nurse