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Keywords:

  • Nursing migration;
  • Philippines;
  • health human resources development

Objectives. To describe nurse migration patterns in the Philippines and their benefits and costs.

Principal Findings. The Philippines is a job-scarce environment and, even for those with jobs in the health care sector, poor working conditions often motivate nurses to seek employment overseas. The country has also become dependent on labor migration to ease the tight domestic labor market. National opinion has generally focused on the improved quality of life for individual migrants and their families, and on the benefits of remittances to the nation. However, a shortage of highly skilled nurses and the massive retraining of physicians to become nurses elsewhere has created severe problems for the Filipino health system, including the closure of many hospitals. As a result, policy makers are debating the need for new policies to manage migration such that benefits are also returned to the educational institutions and hospitals that are producing the emigrant nurses.

Conclusions and Recommendations. There is new interest in the Philippines in identifying ways to mitigate the costs to the health system of nurse emigration. Many of the policy options being debated involve collaboration with those countries recruiting Filipino nurses. Bilateral agreements are essential for managing migration in such a way that both sending and receiving countries derive benefit from the exchange.