Nurses in Denmark shift to cosmetic care despite hospital staffing crisis

Doctors and nurses pulling hospital trolley
Doctors and nurses pulling hospital trolley Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By Roselyne Min with EBU/DR
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The Danish Nurses’ Organisation (DSR) believes that the shift is due to salary and working conditions in public hospitals.


Nurses in Denmark are shifting to cosmetic clinics despite a hospital staffing crisis, according to the Danish public broadcaster, DR.

The number of nurses working with cosmetic treatments has doubled in less than 3 years, the Danish Patient Safety Authority says.

There are currently 662 nurses in Denmark working in cosmetic care, while in 2008, there were just 30 cosmetic nurses in the Scandinavian country.

Health economists say the situation is a “disaster” for the public hospital system.

“They are missed in the hospitals. Currently, it is estimated that there is a shortage of 4,000 to 5,000 nurses in hospitals to reach full staffing levels. That’s why we are seeing increasing waiting times,” said Jes Søgaard, health economist at the University of Southern Denmark.

Switching to cosmetics for better working conditions

Tanja Rossau Adsersen has previously worked at both hospitals and psychiatric clinics and told DR in an interview that difficult working conditions contributed to her departure from the public health service.

She now works at a cosmetic clinic.

“What I found challenging [working in public hospitals] was that I constantly had to compromise on the level of service I could provide,” Adsersen told DR.

“[When working in public hospitals] I often felt like going home from work thinking, ‘Oh, I turned the other cheek there,’ or ‘I couldn’t deal with that because I was so pressured’,” she added.

The Danish Nurses’ Organisation (DSR) believes that the increase in the number of nurses turning to cosmetics is a sign that they want better pay and working conditions.

“I could easily work in the public sector occasionally or help out in emergency situations, but the working conditions are just too poor,” Adsersen said.

“It is not the individual nurse’s responsibility to ensure that there are enough nurses in the public healthcare system. It is the politicians and the Danish regions that are responsible for the operation of the hospitals,” Dorthe Boe Danbjørg, chair of the DSR, told broadcaster DR.

“There is an economic advantage. There is a hugely increasing demand for these cosmetic treatments,” Laura Søderberg, a nurse trainee at a cosmetic clinic, told DR.

According to the DSR, the basic salary for a newly educated cosmetic nurse in Denmark is around €4,700 per month.

This is compared to €3,755 for a hospital nurse who also has to contend with irregular working hours.

“I have never felt more like a nurse. I feel professional and competent and like the best version of myself. I use everything I have learned,” said Adsersen.

For more on this story, watch the video in the media player above.

Video editor • Roselyne Min

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