Why do nurses migrate? – a review of recent literature


  • SOPHIA DYWILI RN, RM, BAdult Ed., MScNursing (midwifery specialty),

    1. Lecturer, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales
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    1. Professor, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Queensland
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    1. Professor of Nursing (Mental Health), University of Newcastle and Greater Western Area Health Service Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, Orange, New South Wales, Australia
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Sophia Dywili
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health
Faculty of Science
Charles Sturt University
Locked Bag 588
Wagga Wagga
New South Wales 2678
E-mail: sdywili@csu.edu.au


Aim  To identify the reasons why nurses continue migrating across international borders.

Background  International nurse recruitment and migration have been increasing in the last decade and recent trends show an increase in the movement of nurses between developing and developed countries, resulting in a worldwide shortage of nurses.

Methods  A manual and electronic database literature search was conducted from January 2004 to May 2010. Qualitative content analysis was completed for the final 17 articles that satisfied the inclusion criteria.

Results  Motivators to nurse migration were linked to financial, professional, political, social and personal factors. Although economic factors were the most commonly reported, they were not the only reason for migration. This was especially evident among nurses migrating between developed countries.

Conclusion  Nurses migrate for a wide variety of reasons as they respond to push and pull factors.

Implications for nursing management  It is important for nurse managers in the source countries to advocate incentives to retain nurses. In the recipient countries the number of international nurses continues to increase implying the need for more innovative ways to mentor and orientate these nurses.