International nurse mobility: trends and policy implications

International nurse mobility: trends and policy implications

The policy implications of the global movement of nursing staff from poor to rich countries

This report from the World Health Organization (WHO) examines the trends and policy implications of nurses moving from the developing world to work in wealthier countries. The focus is on a number of destination countries (Australia, Norway, Ireland, United Kingdom and United Sates) and source areas (the Caribbean, Ghana, the Philippines and South Africa).

There has been a significant rise in the numbers of nurses coming into some, but not all, of the destination countries. However, these nurses are sometimes coming from other industrialised nations rather than from the developing world. In Norway this has been the result of a policy decision by the government. The outflow of nurses is having a major negative impact on the health systems in the source countries studied. The report outlines the push and pull factors that contribute to these high mobility levels, and examines a range of responses from policymakers in both sets of countries. For instance, some source countries such as the Philippines actively encourage nurses to go abroad because of the economic gains of remittances. In most cases however it is a problem and a range of initiatives to either make it difficult for nurses to leave or encourage them to stay have been attempted.

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