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[News Focus] Korea 33rd of 35 OECD members in medical graduations

But No. 2 by portion of nursing graduates

A member of the Korean Medical Student Association stages a single-person rally, opposing the government’s policy to increase quotas for medical school admissions across the nation, in Heukseok-dong, Seoul, in August. (Yonhap)
A member of the Korean Medical Student Association stages a single-person rally, opposing the government’s policy to increase quotas for medical school admissions across the nation, in Heukseok-dong, Seoul, in August. (Yonhap)

SEJONG -- South Korea ranked 33rd in the proportion of graduates from medical schools to the general population among the 35 surveyed members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The France-based OECD compared the numbers of medical graduates per 100,000 inhabitants in its latest research for 2017, 2018 or 2019 data, according to that available for each. The organization defined medical graduates as students who have graduated from medical schools or similar institutions “in a given year.”

Korea saw the tally of medical graduates stay at 7.48 per 100,000 people as of 2018. This placed the nation at No. 33 among the 35 members compared (Colombia and Luxembourg were not included from the total 37 members).

Korea far fell short of the median states of Sweden (17th) with 13.11 per 100,000 people and the UK (18th) with 13.1.

Among the countries ranking above Korea were Chile (30th) with 8.73, Poland (26th) with 10.55, Turkey (23rd) with 11.54 and Mexico (20th) with 12.26.

Ireland topped the list with 25.15 medical graduates per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Latvia (2nd) with 23.44, Denmark (3rd) with 23.04, Lithuania (4th) with 20.6, Slovakia (5th) with 17.66 and Belgium (6th) with 17.63.
 
(Graphic by Kim Sun-young/The Korea Herald)
(Graphic by Kim Sun-young/The Korea Herald)

The next in the ranking included Portugal (7th) with 17.11, the Czech Republic (8th) with 15.99, Hungary (9th) with 15.96, Australia (10th) with 15.84, the Netherlands (11th) with 15.77 and Austria (12th) with 15.23.

Among other Western European countries, Italy posted 15.07 medical graduates, with Spain at 14.24, Greece at 12.4, Switzerland at 11.69, Germany at 11.53 and France at 10.85. The US and Japan ranked 31st with 7.95 and 35th with 7.14, respectively.

On the contrary, South Korea ranked second in the portion of nursing graduates to the population in a given year, the OECD’s latest data showed. The organization compared 35 of its total 37 members (Colombia and Sweden were not included) for 2017, 2018 or 2019 figures.

The OECD clarified that nursing graduates refer to students who have obtained a recognized qualification required to become a licensed or registered nurse.

Korea posted 102.8 nursing graduates per 100,000 people in 2018. This marked the second-highest among the 35 nations, trailing only Switzerland (No. 1) with 106.16.

The nation far outstripped the median rankers -- France (17th) with 40.43 nursing graduates and Austria (18th) with 32.3.

The US (8th) posted 63.19, with Canada (11th) at 56.13, Japan (14th) at 52.25, the UK (20th) with 30.88, Israel (27th) with 23.92, Spain (30th) with 21.23 and Italy (32nd) with 18.92.

Nonetheless, Korea’s ranking by the number of “nurses per 1,000 people” was just 20th with 7.24 (as of 2018) among 34 surveyed OECD members. This means nurses were only 0.72 percent of the population.

The low proportion of nurses -- despite the high number for nursing graduates -- can seemingly be attributed to the relatively high resignation rate due to low wages compared to working hours in the nation. The situation is contrasted to the figures, involving the average income and labor conditions, for doctors.

Norway topped the list with 17.97 nurses per 1,000 people, followed by Switzerland with 17.59, Iceland with 15.52. Germany with 13.22 and Ireland with 12.88.

The US (7th) and Japan (8th) outstripped Korea with 11.89 and 11.76, respectively, in the proportion of nurses.

Among others ranked above Korea were Luxembourg with 11.72 nurses, Sweden with 10.88, New Zealand with 10.34, Slovenia with 10.14, Canada with 9.95, the Czech Republic with 8.07 and the UK with 7.78.

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)



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