The economic implications of nurse migration are complex; and the intricacies can be discounted, misunderstood – or even misrepresented! For example: it’s often just assumed that recruiting nurses into developed nations out of developing countries is like robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is a mistake, however, to look at nurse migration as a zero-sum game where one nation’s economic gain is another’s loss.
The International Council of Nurses puts it succinctly:
“With few exceptions, nurse shortages are present in all regions and constitute a priority concern.”
The ubiquity of the nursing shortage makes the migration of a nurse from a developing nation to a developed one analogous to a native nurse moving from a rural environment to a big city. Both regions are suffering from the same shortage; a new skilled nurse will provide equal relief regardless of destination. It is not the shortage that pulls or pushes the nurse; it is the presence of good opportunities.
Migration into an advanced economy can spur financial and economic stimulus.
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