International Nurse Migration: Lessons From the Philippines

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Abstract

Developed countries facing nursing shortages have increasingly turned to aggressive foreign nurse recruitment, primarily from developing nations, to offset their lagging domestic nurse supplies and meet growing health care demands. Few donor nations are prepared to manage the loss of their nurse workforce to migration. The sole country with an explicit nurse export policy and the world's leading donor of nurse labor—the Philippines—is itself facing serious provider maldistribution and countrywide health disparities. Examining the historical roots of Philippines nurse migration provides lessons from which other nurse exporting countries may learn. The authors discuss factors that have predicated nurse migration and policies that have eased the way. Furthermore, the authors analyze how various stakeholders influence migratory patterns, the implications of migration for nurses and the public in their care, and the challenges that future social policy and political systems face in addressing global health issues engendered by unfettered recruitment of nurses and other health workers.

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