The career paths of a group of Romanian nurses in Italy: a 3-year follow-up study

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The objective of this study was to describe for how long a homogeneous group of 17 Romanian nurses who first arrived at the ‘Teaching Hospital’ in Italy in 2003, stayed in the same hospital/ward of the host country, why and when they decided to move from one hospital to another, and their levels of competence in core skills, after either 6 months or 3 years.


A longitudinal study design was adopted. The first phase was carried out in 2004, the second in 2006. We used an anonymous questionnaire.


Only ten of the 17 nurses, who had started working in Italy 3 years before, remained in the same Hospital where they first started working. In spite of being given the opportunity to stay, some decided to move to hospitals where it is possible to earn more money or where they could save more by living in less expensive towns. The first nurse left the hospital in the first year, five in the second and one in the third year. Levels of perceived professional independence after 3 years are very good: the permanent group had improved their skills in all areas even though they felt a lack of confidence during the first 6 months.


This study, within the limits of the sample and the methods, shows that foreign nurses are highly mobile in the host country and this revolves around the opportunity to earn more. With increasing recruitment of nurses from within the European continent, it is necessary to continue studying the factors that sustain foreign nurses, to find out how they can be helped, how to value their imported professional skills, how to reduce the initial lack of faith in their own abilities and to discover which strategies would encourage them to stay in the hospital where they arrived.

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