EUROPEAN HEALTH INFORMATION GATEWAY

  • Professionally active nurses, total number (Line chart)
Data set notes
European database on human and technical resources for health (HlthRes-DB)

HlthRes-DB provides a wide range of statistics on human and technical resources for health and offers data on non-monetary health care resources collected through the joint work of the Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and WHO/Europe. It contains nearly 200 indicators on human and technical resources for health.

Human resources indicators: Indicators include the number and density of a wide range of health personnel (such as physicians, nurses, midwives, dentists, pharmacists and health care assistants), according to three different concepts (those practising, professionally active and licensed to practice). Information on employment in hospitals and numbers of medical and other graduates is also available.

Technical resources data: Data include the number and density of hospitals and hospital beds, stratified by ownership of facility (public, non-profit-making private and for-profit private), in addition to the number of beds for long-term care.

HlthRes-DB also contains indicators on the availability of the following medical equipment: computed tomography (CT) scanners, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) units, positron emission tomography (PET) scanners, gamma cameras, digital subtraction angiography units, mammographs, radiation therapy equipment and lithotriptors.

Coverage: HlthRes-DB contains data from the 53 Member States in the WHO European Region. To be updated yearly, usually in late summer, it is currently available in English and Russian.

More information: http://www.euro.who.int/en/data-and-evidence/databases/european-database-on-human-and-technical-resources-for-health-hlthres-db
Indicator notes
Professionally active nurses, total number
Indicator code: nurs.prof

Professionally active nurses include practising nurses and other nurses for whom their education is a prerequisite for the execution of the job.
Inclusion
- Professional nurses (see definition below)
- Associate professional nurses (see definition below)
- Nurses providing services directly to patients
- Nurses working in administration, management, research and in other posts excluding direct contact with patients
Exclusion
- Nurses who hold a post / job under which nursing education is not required
- Unemployed nurses and retired nurses
- Nurses working abroad

Professional nurses assume responsibility for the planning and management of the care of patients, including the supervision of other health care workers, working autonomously or in teams with medical doctors and others in the practical application of preventive and curative measures.
Inclusion
- Clinical nurse
- District nurse
- Nurse anaesthetist
- Nurse educator
- Nurse practitioner
- Public health nurse
- Specialist nurse
Exclusion
- Midwife (unless they work most of the time as nurses)
- Paramedical practitioner
- University lecturer
- Vocational education teacher
- Associate professional nurse
- Associate professional midwife
- Nursing aide

Associate professional nurses generally work under the supervision of, and in support of implementation of health care, treatment and referrals plans established by medical, nursing and other health professionals.
Inclusion
- Assistant nurse
- Enrolled nurse
- Practical nurse
Exclusion
- Professional nurse
- Clinical nurse consultant
- Specialist nurse
- Midwife (unless they work most of the time as nurses)
- Associate professional midwife
- Nursing aide
- Medical assistant
Note: The number should be at the end of the calendar year.
Country notes
Albania
Data not available.
Armenia
Source of data: Republican Research and Information Health Centre and the National Statistic Service of the Republic of Armenia, Report form of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia ? 17 “Health employment”, http://healthinfo.am/Statistical%20Report.htm, Statistical book, Armenia, English version (zip) 2009.
Reference period: 31 December.
Deviation from the definition: Data on professional nurses (ISCO-08 code: 2221) and associate professional nurses (ISCO-08 code: 3221) are missing because all nurses are considered to be professional
Austria
Data not available.
Azerbaijan
Data nota available.
Belarus
Note: Data not available.
Belgium
Source of data: Service Public Federal Sante publique, securite de la chaine alimentaire et environnement (Federal Public Service (FPS) Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment), DG2 - Soins de sante primaire et gestion de crises (Directorate-General for Primary Health Care and Crisis Management). The Cellule "Planification des professionnels de sante" ("Planning of Health Professionals" unit) based the data on the cross-referencing of different administrative databases and registers from various sources (FPS Health, register; INAMI; Datawarehouse social protection).
Estimation method: The 2010-2012 data have been estimated by the OECD Secretariat by using the 2009 share of professionally active nurses among all nurses licensed to practice.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Source: Public Health Institute of FB&H - Annual report health personnel with university degree by specialization and sex in FB&H Public Health Institute of Republica Srpska - Annual report health personnel with university degree by specialization and sex in Republica Srpska
Bulgaria
Data not available.
Croatia
Data not available.
Cyprus
Source of data: 2000-2005: Public medical institutions From 2006: Inspectors of Private Medical Institutions (Ministry of Health)
Reference period: 31st December.
Estimation method: The figures referring to years 2000-2005 have been estimated since no actual data are available for this period for the private sector. From 2006 onwards the reported numbers are actual. Numbers referring to Public Sector are actual for all years and have been obtained from administrative sources supplied from the public medical institutions, whereas the numbers referring to the private sector from 2006 onwards have been obtained from administrative sources of the Inspectors of Private Medical Institutions (Ministry of Health).
Break in time series: 2006 due to point deviation from the definition (point 3 below).
Deviation from the definition: For the Public Sector, the midwives are included. In Cyprus, all the midwives activated in the Public sector are nurses owning the extra qualification of midwifery and they hold the position of nursing officer. Hence, they have been included in the number of nurses. For the Private Sector, the midwives have been excluded. Assumed that in the Private Sector, there are no nurses holding administrative positions. All nurses have been considered as practising nurses. For 2005, the number of associate professional nurses refers only to the public sector, no data available for the private sector.
Czechia
Data not available.
Denmark
Source of data: Statens Serum Institut, Labour Register for Health Personnel.
Reference period: 31st December.
Coverage: Nurses whose status in the Central Personnel Register is active, i.e. in the country (not dead or abroad); connected to HP1, HP2 or HP3 as either a) employed, b) employed, being on leave or
c) employed, receiving sickness benefit.
Estonia
Data not available.
Finland
Source of data: THL Health Personnel Statistics; National Institute for Health and Welfare. The data for 2000 and 2005 onwards are based on the Employment Register kept by Statistics Finland.
Reference period: Data refer to information for the whole year.
Coverage: Data include nurses active in health care in Finland.
France
Source of data: Ministere de la Sante et des Sports - Direction de la Recherche, des Etudes, de l'Evaluation et des Statistiques (DREES), Sous-Direction de l'Observation de la Sante et de l'Assurance maladie, Bureau des Professions de sante, Repertoire ADELI.
Reference period: 31st December.
Coverage:
- Data refer to metropolitan France and D.O.M. (overseas departments).
- The data represent all active nurses, including those working in the administration, etc.
- Nursing assistants (“aide-soignantes”) are not included.
Break in time series:
- The decrease in 2007 reflects an adjustment in the ADELI file.
Georgia
Source of data: Data are based on annual statistical reports collected from health establishments to the Ministry of Health and include both, public and private sectors and also facilities working under other Ministries, such as Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and Ministry of Defence.
Reference period: 31 December 2012
Coverage: The provided data cover all regions except separatist regions, Abkhazia and South Osetia. Data for those two regions are unavailable.
Break in time series:
- 15% decrease in 2012 is due to an essential change of the data collection tool related to the health human resources.
Germany
Due to a current revision and recalculation of the entire time series, data are not available at the moment.
Greece
Source of data: Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT.).
Coverage: Figures refer to nurses working in hospital sector (public and private hospitals) and to nursing personnel (including nurses, midwives and health visitors) working in Public Health Centers.
Hungary
Data not available.
Iceland
Source of data: Directorate of Health and Association of Icelandic Nurses.
Reference period: 31st December.
Coverage:
- Professional nurses: Four years of university education leading to a B.Sc. degree.
- Associate/Licensed practical nurses: Three years of education in secondary school (non-university) and 16 weeks of practical training in health institutions.  
- Figures refer to nurses who are members of The Association of Icelandic Nurses and associate practical nurses who are members of the Icelandic Union of Practical Nurses.
Ireland
Source of data: From 2012, CSO Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) data (labour force survey) Pre 2012: FAS / Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (SLMRU) analysis of CSO Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) data (labour force survey). http://www.skillsireland.ie/publication/egfsnSearch.jsp - National Skills Bulletin.
Reference period: Data are expressed as the annual average (average of four quarters).
Coverage:
- Data include midwives. It is not possible to distinguish between nurses and midwives as virtually all registered midwives also hold registered nursing qualifications.
- Data include those working in both the public and private sectors.
Break in time series:
- Until 2009, the QNHS was conducted on seasonal quarters (first quarter starting in December). Since 2009, the QNHS has been conducted on a calendar quarter basis. Also, since 2009 an updated EU Classification of industrial sectors (NACE rev 2) was used.
- In 2011, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) moved from using the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) 1990 to the SOC 2010.
- In 2012, the survey sample weights were revised in line with the 2011 Census of Population; the weights were adjusted upwards meaning that employment estimates were higher than those previously used. As a result the figures from 2012 are not directly comparable with previous years' estimates.
Israel
Source of data: The data are based on the Nurses License Registry maintained by the Nursing Division and the Health Information Division in the Ministry of Health, for which the demographic information is periodically updated from the Population Registry at the Ministry of Interior.
Reference period: End of the year.
Coverage: Data are for all licensed nurses under age 65. The number of midwives is not included in the number of nurses.
Note: The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.
Italy
Source of data: ISTAT, Labour Force Survey. http://www.istat.it/it/archivio/8263.
Reference period: Annual average.
Coverage: Sample survey.
- Data include professionally active professional nurses. In the Italian regulatory system, the category “Associate professional nurses” does not exist.
Estimation method: Estimation from the sample survey. Data are affected by the statistical error due to the sample design.
Kazakhstan
Source: Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Reference period: 31December.
Note: Division on Professional and Associate professional nurses does not exist in the country. All nurses are classified as professional nurses.
Latvia
Source of data:
- Since 2005: Health Inspectorate of Latvia; Medical Persons' Register.
- 2004 and earlier: Medical Professional Education Centre; Register of Health Care Persons.
Reference period: 31 December. Break in series: 2005: Change in data source.
Note: Decrease in the number of nurses in year 2009 is due to restructuring of health care institutions.
Lithuania
Source of data: Health Information Centre of Institute of Hygiene, data of entire annual survey of health establishments. Report “Health Statistics of Lithuania”, available from http://sic.hi.lt/html/en/hsl.htm.
Reference period: 31st December
Coverage: The number of nurses at the end of the year includes all active nurses working in health care, public health, health administration, health education and research institutions (public or private), including health care institutions under other ministries than the Ministry of Health. The number of nurses excludes: nurses working in social institutions, nurses working outside the country; nurses on the retired list and not practising or unemployed; nurses working outside health services, e.g. employed in industry, etc.
Luxembourg
Source of data: Direction de la Sante - Service des statistiques. Register of doctors and health professionals.
Reference period: 31st December.
Malta
Data not available.
Montenegro
Source of data: The source for all data submitted is the Institute of Public Health. Some additional information can be found in Health Statistical Yearbooks available at http://www.ijzcg.me/
Reference period: December 31st.
Coverage: Only data from the public sector.
Deviation from the definition: Laboratory technicians are included from 2005 till 2011, but not for previous years. Physiotherapy technicians are included for 2011 and also for previous years. Data for practicing nurses and professionally active nurses cannot be split at the moment.
Netherlands
Source of data: Data for professionally active and licensed nurses based on BIG register (register of (para)medical professions) and SSB database (micro-integrated database of Statistics Netherlands with data from the municipal register, tax register, social security, and business register).
Reference period: The last Friday before Christmas.
Coverage:
- Data refer to nurses who: are licensed to practice; live and work in the Netherlands; and are active in a health- or social care sector or a health-care related sector (licensing regulations passed in 2009 and effective in 2014 require that they have been practising – not necessarily fulltime – in the past five years).
- List of NACE codes used for health- or social care and healthcare related sectors: NACE v1: 851, 853, 2441, 2442, 331, 5146, 5231, 5232, 5248.2 (opticians), 6022 (part of transport for healthcare), 6602.3, 6602.4 (pension funds part for healthcare occupations), 6603 (part of health insurance funds and companies), 7310.3 (medical and pharmacological research and development), 745 (temporary work companies; very important for nurses, caring personnel and physiotherapists), 7522 (Ministry of Defense, including military hospital), 7523.2 (part of medical personnel for prisons, including prison hospital), 753 (compulsory health care insurance, operations for exceptional medical expenses act), 8022, 8030, 9304, 9305.
- Nace v2: 86, 87, 88, 212, 266, 325, 4646, 4773, 4774, 4778.2, 4932, 6530.3, 6530.9, 6512, 7211.2 + 7219.3 (R&D for health, medical products or pharmaceutical processes), 782, (8412 will be included when NACE v2 is available in SSB; Regulation of the activities of providing health care, education, cultural services and other social services, excluding social security), 8422, 8423.2, 843, 8532, 854, 9313, 9609.
Norway
Source of data: Statistics Norway; Statistics on health-care personnel. Administrative registers. See http://www.ssb.no/hesospers_en/.
Coverage: The figures provided cover all professionally active nurses in all industries.
Reference period: 3rd week of November.
Poland
Source of data: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of National Defence and Central Statistical Office.
Reference period: 31st December.
Coverage: Practising nurses and nurses with universities, state or local self-government administration or the National Health Fund as the primary workplace.
Portugal
Source of data: Statistics Portugal and the Council of Nurses.
Reference period: 31st December.
Coverage:
- Becoming legally permitted to nurse is dependent on getting a professional license from the Council of Nurses.
- All nurses are registered by place of activity. Non-practising nurses are excluded.
- The number of nurses excludes the number of midwives (nurses specialised in Maternal Health and Obstetrics).
- Data include all active nurses licensed to practice. They include nurses working in administration, management, research and in other posts that exclude direct contact with patients.
Deviation from the definition:
- Nurses who hold a post / job under which nursing education is not required are not excluded. Data revised for 2012
Republic of Moldova
Source of data: Ministry of Health of the Republic of Moldova, National Centre for Health Management, Annual statistical report N17 “On staff and cadres of health institutions”. http://cnms.md/areas/statistics/anyar/.
Reference period: Data as of December 31.
Coverage: Data exclude Transnistria.
Deviation from the definition: Foreign nurses are not included. Feldshers are included.
Romania
Source of data: National Institute of Statistics, Activity of Sanitary Units – annual survey performed by NIS.
Reference period: data as of 31st December.
Coverage: The data cover public and private sector. Data from 2000 till 2009 refer to ancillary medical staff. Since 2010 the data refer only to nurses. The ancillary medical staff includes: medical assistants, pharmacy assistants, nurses, infant care personnel, sanitary technicians, laboratory assistants, registering clerks, masseur, autopsy assistant and statistician specialized in health statistics, medical physical trainer, ergo therapy trainer and other categories of medical staff with equivalent upper secondary level of education. The data include also associated nurses from dentists units and pharmaceutical units. It would be specified that for midwives and nurses the level of education is ISCED 3 or 4 and ISCO codes are 3231 and 3232. Until 2007 ancillary medical staff working in administration, research and in other posts that exclude direct contact with patients could not be totally excluded. Number of nurses decreased in 2010 because in the period 2000-2009 data refers to ancillary medical staff (see definition above) The number of practising nurses does not include midwives and physiotherapists Break in the series: 2010. Since 2007 the first series of nurses ISCED 5 were graduated. The trend of increasing of number of professional nurses remains because new generations of nurses are graduated from the university
Russian Federation
Source of data: Annual reporting forms ?17 «Information about the medical and pharmaceutical personnel", Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation. Includes all nursing personnel.
Reference period: 31 December.
Coverage: Includes only data for medical institutions of the Ministry of Health. Data from institutions of other ministries and private sector are not included.
San Marino
Data not available.
Serbia
Source of data: Institute of Public Health of Serbia, National register on health care human resources. Data as of December 31. http://www.batut.org.rs/.
Coverage: Data for Kosovo-Metohija province are not included in the coverage of data for the Republic of Serbia. Data from health institutions under other ministries (military services, prisons, social services) than the Ministry of Health are not included. Data from private health sector are not included.
Slovakia
Source of data: National Health Information Center.
- There is no register of nurses and midwives in the Slovak Republic. The data come from “The Annual report on structure and number of health professionals and health care workers in the Slovak Republic”; therefore, only data on professionally active nurses are provided.
Reference period: 31st December.
Break in time series: Employees of denationalised establishments emerging during the process of privatisation have been included in the statistical databases since 1998.
Slovenia
Source of data: National Institute of Public Health, Slovenia; National Health Care Providers Database.
Reference period: 31st December.
Coverage:
- Professionally active nurses include practising professionals working in the health-care sector and professionals working at HP4, 6.1, 6.3-6.9 and HP7 providers.
- The National Health Care Providers Database is a registry with total (100 %) coverage of health workers.
Spain
Source of data: National Statistics Institute (INE), based on the Economically Active Population Survey. http://www.ine.es/jaxi/menu.do?type=pcaxis&path=/t22/e308_mnu&file=inebase&N=&L=0.
Reference period: Annual average. Three-year moving averages (e.g. data reported in 1996 is an average of 1995-1997).
Coverage:
- A significant revision of the numbers of nurses in previous years has been made in 2010 due to a clarification of definitions. The Spanish Working Group for the adaptation of ISCO-08 to our own classifications (CNO-11) determined that Spanish health professionals fit as follows:
a) The category of 'associate professional nurses' (ISCO-08 code 3221) does not exist in Spain, so these series have been completely corrected.
b) The nursing aides working in Spain correspond entirely to the group 5 of the ISCO classification (ISCO-08 codes 5321, 5322) based on the tasks and functions they perform. Therefore, based on these criteria, the series for practising nurses, professionally active nurses, associate professional nurses and caring personnel have been updated in 2010 for the period 1995-2008.
- Furthermore, the data set for professionally active physicians, nurses and pharmacists has been updated with better estimates in 2010. In this way, all the series follow the methodological definition. Before correction, some figures were in line with the definition of ‘economically active professionals’ whose values could include unemployed professionals.
- The number of professionally active nurses was obtained by calculating the number of nurses employed in the health sector as well as in remaining sectors of NACE rev.2 since 2009, and similarly with NACE Rev.1 and NACE Rev1.1 before 2009. Thus, the ‘Professionally active’ data correspond to nurses regardless of NACE sector where they are working.
- Data analysis over time should be carried out with caution. Data are obtained from a survey and fluctuations in the data can occur for a number of reasons, one of them being the sampling errors. These variations can lead to false assumptions about trends. We advise users of time series data to carefully explore the relevant issues before drawing any conclusions about the reasons for year-on-year changes.
- Up to 2010, the data include professional nurses (midwives included) exclusively. The data by occupation are classified according to the National Occupations Classification (CNO-94 Spain code 272), the Spanish equivalence of ISCO-88, code 2230.
- From 2011 onwards data are classified according to CNO-11 Spain, code 212. The CNO-11 code 212 is the Spanish equivalence of ISCO-08 code 222 (nursing and midwifery professionals).
- During the first quarter of 2005 various changes have been introduced into the Economically Active Population Survey:
1. New variables have been included in accordance with Eurostat (Statistical Office of the European Communities) requirements, set forth in Regulation 2257/2003.
2. A centralised procedure has been implemented for the process of the telephone interviews.
3. With the goal of further standardising the survey process, the questions of the questionnaire have been reformulated.
- The figures of professionally active midwives are not available, and it is not possible to subtract them from the total number of professionally active nurses.
Deviation from the definition: Data include midwives.
Estimation method: In 2014, data series have been updated with Spanish population figures imported from Census 2011 and recalculated by using three-year moving averages in order to reduce the large year-to-year fluctuations in data derived from the LFS. The number reported in 1996 is an average of 1995-1997; the number for 2012 is an average of 2011-2013.
Sweden
Source of data: National Board of Health and Welfare, National Planning Support (NPS) register.
Reference period: 1st November.
Coverage:
- In addition to the NACE-codes used to identify practicing nurses the NACE-codes: 75.1 - Public authorities 80.3 - Higher education establishments are used to identify professional active nurses.
- 100 per cent coverage.
Switzerland
Data not available.
Tajikistan
Data not available.

TFYR Macedonia
Source of data: Institute for Public Health –Skopje. Report for health staff in health sector (3-00-60).
Reference period: 31st December.
Turkey
Source of data:
- From 2000 onwards: General Directorate for Health Services, Ministry of Health.
- Up to 1999: Health Statistics Yearbook - Ministry of Health.
Coverage:
- Total number of nurses in the MoH, university and private sectors.
- Since 2010, data also include nurses in the “Other” Sector (other public establishments and local administrations). MoND-affiliated facilities are not included until 2011.
- Nurses who work abroad, who are retired/unemployed or who have not graduated from schools yet are not included.
- Nurses acting as managers are included.
- Midwives are excluded, even if some of them act as nurses in Turkey.
Break in time series:
- MoND-affiliated facilities are included since 2012.
Turkmenistan
Source of data: Report form of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan. ? 17 “Health employment”
Reference period: 31 December.
Coverage: Includes data from institutions under the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan, data from other Ministries or sectors not included.
Break in time series:
- 2004: The 34% decrease in numbers of professionally active nurses in 2004 is a consequence of the state programme Health on re-organization of the health institutions with the purpose of rational use of human resources for health in the country.
Ukraine
Source of data: Centre of Health Statistics, Ministry of Health, Report form ? 17 “Health employment” of the Ministry of Health, other agencies and private entities.
Reference period: 31 December.
Deviation from the definition: data on foreign nurses are not included. Starting from 2009 feldshers are included in this category. Nurses working in physiotherapy departments are not included (they are included in the number of practicing physiotherapists).
Break in time series: 2009, before 2009 data included only health professionals working in the institutions reporting to the Ministry of Health, starting from 2009 data coverage is complete.
United Kingdom
Data not available.
Uzbekistan
Data not available