Aim. This review explores the experiences of international nurses recently recruited to the UK nursing workforce (1995–2007) and the implications for retention.
Background. An acute shortage of nurses in the mid 1990s, combined with policy initiatives to increase the number of qualified nurses working in the NHS, resulted in an active campaign to recruit nurses from overseas. Since 1997, approximately 100,000 international nurses have been admitted to the nursing register from more than 50 countries worldwide. Many practice areas are now dependent on overseas nurses as an essential part of their workforce.
Design. An integrative review.
Method. The review was conducted using a range of electronic databases to capture the experiences of this cohort of migrant nurses.
Conclusion. Much literature has been generated over the past decade in relation to the experiences of international nurses recruited during this campaign. Five main themes emerged from the review: motivation for migration, adapting to British nursing, experiences of first world healthcare, feeling devalued and deskilled and vectors of racial discrimination. Although some positive experiences are described, significant numbers of nurses describe not feeling personally or professionally valued by the UK nursing establishment, common emotions expressed are disappointment and unmet expectations. This will have implications for job satisfaction and intention to leave or stay.
Relevance to clinical practice. If overseas nurses choose to leave the UK in large numbers, the health services could face a severe staffing shortage. It is important that we listen carefully to their experiences to help identify priorities for policy and practice aimed at improving job satisfaction for migrant nurses and articulating the value that they bring to UK nursing.