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Nurse migration: a challenge for the profession and health-care systems

Abstract

Introduction and questions of exploration

In a first step this paper outlines the global context of and international influences on nurse migration. Liberalization of health markets is identified as a trigger point steering movements of nurses globally. Facts and figures concerning nurse migration are highlighted in a second section focusing on developments in the USA and UK, which are recruiting nurses from Europe and overseas on a large scale, and adding the latest European approaches and policies concerning this issue. Projections are presented that highlight growing demands for the next 2 decades. The third part explores the impact of nurse migration on nursing care and professional standards.

Methods

The article is based on an extensive literature review and the analysis of quality issues in the nursing field.

Results

The number of nurse migrations in the last decades show that the issue of nurse migration is already of high importance for many countries. This will be enhanced by future accelerated development of nursing shortages in many countries. Boosted global recruitment of nurses will be the consequence.The paper concludes that the recruitment of international nurses has not yet taken quality issues and indicators in health-care settings profoundly into consideration. Economical gains by not training nurses and recruiting them from abroad might have a severe impact on already existing problems concerning patient safety issues and nurse-sensitive outcomes in health-care settings.

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The authors disclose any relevant association that might pose a conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Monika Habermann.

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Habermann, M., Stagge, M. Nurse migration: a challenge for the profession and health-care systems. J Public Health 18, 43–51 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10389-009-0279-0

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Keywords

  • Nurse migration
  • International health workforce
  • Professional standards
  • Patient safety