A QUESTION OF JUSTICE: ASSESSING NURSE MIGRATION FROM A PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVE

Authors


Institute for Ethics and Law in Medicine, Spitalgasse 2-4, Vienna 1090, Austria. Email: lukas.kaelin@univie.ac.at

ABSTRACT

The intensified nurse migration leads to severe problems for the health care systems in many developing countries. Using the Philippines as an example, this paper will address the question of global nurse migration from a philosophical perspective. John Rawls' liberal and Michael Walzer's communitarian theory of justice will be examined in view of the ethical problem of nurse migration. In line with Rawls' A Theory of Justice, nurse migration undermines the ability of the people in developing countries to make use of their basic rights and liberties. Walzer's communitarian assessment of nurse migration, on the other hand, will stress the shared ‘thin’ morality, as well as the shared history between the ‘donating’ and receiving countries. This paper argues that the commonality of a shared history and common values implies the moral obligation to ensure a fairer distribution of nurses.

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