Nursing shortages and international nurse migration

S. J. Ross, D. Polsky, J. Sochalski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The United Kingdom and the United States are among several developed countries currently experiencing nursing shortages. While the USA has not yet implemented policies to encourage nurse immigration, nursing shortages will likely result in the growth of foreign nurse immigration to the USA. Understanding the factors that drive the migration of nurses is critical as the USA exerts more pull on the foreign nurse workforce. Aim: To predict the international migration of nurses to the UK using widely available data on country characteristics. Method: The Nursing and Midwifery Council serves as the source of data on foreign nurse registrations in the UK between 1998 and 2002. We develop and test a regression model that predicts the number of foreign nurse registrants in the UK based on source country characteristics. We collect country-level data from sources such as the World Bank and the World Health Organization. Results: The shortage of nurses in the UK has been accompanied by massive and disproportionate growth in the number of foreign nurses from poor countries. Low-income, English-speaking countries that engage in high levels of bilateral trade experience greater losses of nurses to the UK. Conclusion: Poor countries seeking economic growth through international trade expose themselves to the emigration of skilled labour. This tendency is currently exacerbated by nursing shortages in developed countries. Countries at risk for nurse emigration should adjust health sector planning to account for expected losses in personnel. Moreover, policy makers in host countries should address the impact of recruitment on source country health service delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-262
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Nursing Review
Volume52
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Migration
  • Nursing Shortage
  • United Kingdom
  • Workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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