Nurse Migration and Global Health Challenges

Thursday, 16 July 2009: 3:45 PM

Rebecca Stamm, BSN, RN
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Purpose: Nurses and the nursing profession are vital and integral to the success of any health care delivery system in the world. However, there is an unbalanced distribution of nurses between the developed and the developing world, which has been further complicated by the migration of nurses from developing to the developed countries.

Methods: Studies to identify reasons nurses migrate have demonstrated the push/pull factors to be responsible for nurse migration. With such findings, various nursing organizations and countries struggle to find solutions that will balance the fundamental human rights of nurse migrants with the depletion of nurses from the developing world (brain drain). Policies that restricts nurse migration only takes away the importance of transnational partnership, and has not been very successful.

Results: Migration is a reality of the 21st century, regardless of any individual’s or countries’ stance. A win-win strategy will be one that affirms the right of the nurse to migrate and places infrastructure that retains nurses in the developing world.

Conclusion: One way of achieving such strategy is global nursing collaboration and partnership, by creating formal inter-country partnerships and collaborative programs involving nurses at all levels of practice, while empowering nurses to define and expand their practice on a global level.