International Nursing Review

Cover image for Vol. 64 Issue 3

Edited By: Sue Turale

Impact Factor: 1.517

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2016: 30/116 (Nursing)

Online ISSN: 1466-7657

Virtual Issue: Nurse Migration

Research in INR on nurse migration: is policy change possible based on the findings?

Mireille Kingma, former head of ICN’s Social and Economic Welfare Programme, was crucially influential in drawing the world’s attention to the scale and complexity of nurse migration. Articles on various aspects of migration submitted to ICN have mushroomed since publication of Kingma’s Nurses on the Move: migration and the global health care economy (Cornell University Press, 2006). This virtual issue seemed a good opportunity to present the current state of research as reported in a group of twelve INR articles stretching over the past five years, particularly in terms of whether their findings might influence policy change.

Attempts to construct a detailed picture of nurse migration are limited to those sophisticated jurisdictions that hold relevant data. This ideal situation may be compared with an attempt to follow up Moldovan nurses migrating to Italy, where only 22.7% of the original cohort could be traced, none of whom were working as nurses. Hence attempts to present accurate accounts of the outcomes of nurse migration are heavily dependent on the quality of data capture in the host country.

Definitions are sometimes inconsistent, although ‘internationally educated nurses’ (IEN) is becoming the norm in these articles. The heterogeneity of undergraduate nursing students in an Australian university is examined in one paper and a distinction made between international and local, but overseas-born, students; so IEN would be inappropriate in certain specific contexts.

Classification is also difficult as each article covers diverse aspects of nurse migration. Nevertheless the majority do include: ‘push-pull’ influences, including family factors and socio-economic conditions in the home country; individuals’ workplace adjustment; differences in culture; experiences of loneliness, racism and/or hostility; and the difficulties that many nurses face in attempting to become registered in their new country.

Several articles either recommend, or evaluate, the success of orientation programmes, and one claims that these are crucial in securing migrant nurses’ commitment to the organization and to ensuring their successful socialization. These stories of ‘triumph over adversity’ should be viewed with some caution: the sample sizes may be small; they tend not to differentiate between the experiences of respondents from different ethnic groups; they are based on self-reports by those who have been successful in the system; and they tend to be reported by nationals of the host country. Accounts from migrant nurses themselves are less frequent and appear to be less complimentary.

It appears therefore that although individual vignettes contain great human interest, to influence policy in future suggests that a more systematic approach to research may be called for.

A good beginning may be found at where e-briefs, Fact Sheets, News, and Commissioned Papers are located. In one, Adams, E. & Kennedy, A. (2006) describe Positive Practice Environments: key considerations for the development of framework to support the integration of international nurses. This concentration on different aspects of the needs for integration could equally be utilised by researchers in future when focussing down on their specific research questions.

Jane Robinson, FRCN, MA, PhD, Editor

Internationally educated nurses: profiling workforce diversity

Italian-Moldovan international nurse migration: rendering visible the loss of human capital

Facilitators & barriers to adjustment of international nurses: an integrative review

Supporting Indian nurses migrating to New Zealand: a literature review

Diversity and demographic heterogeneity of Australian nursing students: a closer look

Ontario’s internationally educated nurses and waste in human capital

Is the grass any greener? Canada to United States of America nurse migration

Factors influencing midwifery migration from the United Kingdom to Australia

Lived experiences of internationally educated nurses in hospitals in the United States of America

Acculturation among nurses in Israel and the United States of America

Organizational socialization of nurses in the New York Metropolitan area

Voices of internationally educated nurses: policy recommendations for credentialing