Mexican Nurses' Perceptions of their Work, Profession, and Migration

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 8:30 AM

Rebecca M. Wheeler, MA, BSN, RN
Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand the employment situation of nurses in a public hospital in Mexico.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to see how qualitative methods achieve deeper understanding about how nurses feel about their work and plans for migration.

This qualitative study had two aims: to explore Mexican nurses’ job stress and satisfaction with nursing, and to explore their intentions to stay in nursing and in Mexico. Job stress is related to job satisfaction and intent-to-stay. Nurses who migrate are assumed to do so primarily in search of higher pay and opportunities for advanced education and/or professional advancement, which can be found in the U.S.
This study followed the principles of grounded theory. Data were collected through recorded semi-structured interviews of a purposive sample of nine staff nurses at a public hospital in Puebla, Mexico during the summer of 2008. They were asked to describe what causes them stress at work, their attitudes about nursing, and whether they have considered leaving the hospital, the profession and/or the country and why. Interviews were analyzed for themes.
Themes were found that related to patient care, teamwork and availability of resources and were determined to be relevant to job stress. Themes from attitudes about nursing reflected pride and ambivalence. Intention to stay in the profession and/or the country was influenced by both personal and professional factors that led to willingness or unwillingness to leave.
This study indicated that these nurses experience high stress at work due to interpersonal factors and/or workload yet most are proud to be nurses. Few intend to leave their job or profession but some would consider leaving the country temporarily to learn about nursing in another country and learn new technologies. Further research is needed about factors involved in nurse migration, because factors typically assumed to motivate migration were not found to be true in this case.