Academic journal article Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

Migration of Nurses: A Latin American Perspective

Academic journal article Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

Migration of Nurses: A Latin American Perspective

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper documents an exploratory meeting organized by the Pan American Health Organization, that gathered nurses from countries of Latin America, who identified the shortage and migration tendencies as an emerging area in need of investigation. The exploratory meeting was conducted under the direction of the Regional Advisor on Nursing and Allied Health Personnel at the Pan American Health Organization in collaboration with the nursing leadership of Latin America. Fifteen of the 19 Latin American Countries participated in the meeting including: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. All agreed that documentation was needed concerning the shortage and migration of nurses including its causes and effects, the distribution of professional nurses, and available public policies to support the needs of professional nurses in Latin America.

Citation: Siantz, de Leon, M.L., Malvárez, S., (May 31, 2008) "Migration of Nurses: A Latin American Perspective" OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing; Vol. 13 No. 2 Manuscript 2. Available: www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/vol132008/No2May08/LatinAmericanPerspective.aspx

Key Words: International nurse migration, Latin American nurses, nurse migration

Nursing shortages...have become an increasing challenge in both industrial and developing countries, negatively affecting the health and well being of the global population The world has entered a critical period in its need for human resources to provide healthcare. Nursing shortages, in particular, have become an increasing challenge in both industrial and developing countries, negatively affecting the health and well being of the global population (Buchan, 2004). The nursing shortage has a critical effect on healthcare because of its negative impact on both preventive and curative care. For example, in developing countries, fewer nurses have been available for providing immunizations and prenatal care. Hospitals in many industrialized and developing countries have been forced to close units when nursing staff has not been available (Oulton, 2006). To meet the growing needs resulting from this shortage, nurses are migrating in growing numbers from developing countries to the United States, Europe, Canada, and within Latin America. This phenomenon is depleting the nurse supply in developing countries and undermining global health initiatives (Aiken, Buchan, Sochalski, Nichols, & Powell, 2004).

Nursing intervention is not only an essential component of health promotion, disease prevention, and care of the sick, but also of rehabilitation (WHO, 2004). While some information concerning nurse migration and the nursing shortage is available for Europe, Canada, the Caribbean, the Philippines, the United States, Australia, and Africa (Kline, 2003), limited knowledge exists for Latin American countries. The available information is inconsistent at best, partly due to the complexity of the subject.

To address this lacunae, the Human Resources Unit of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) planned a symposium during the IX Pan American Research Conference in Lima, Peru (Malvarez, Famer Rocha, Cometto, & Siantz, 2006). The meeting focused on what is known about nursing resources, especially the nursing shortage in the region. This gathering was the first in a series of meetings whose purpose focused on the growing migration of nurses in Latin America and its impact on the nursing shortage. The discussion was timely given the growing impact of globalization on the region and nursing healthcare reforms during the last decade. The symposium not only explored the major causes of immigration, but also the need for a Latin American database; research to investigate the problem of the nursing shortage and migration; and public policies to address the issue (Malvarez & Siantz, 2005). …

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