Trends in foreign-educated nurse mobility beyond the COVID-19 pandemic
- Nurse migration,
- Human resources for health,
- Ethical international recruitment,
- Codes of ethics
While the COVID-19 pandemic initially halted the mobility of health professionals, global migration has since returned to pre-pandemic levels and will likely explode in the years beyond the pandemic. Simultaneously, the situation surrounding global health workforce staffing and sustainability is dire; the current global shortage of nurses is estimated at seven million, while the WHO calls for 13 million new nurses by 2030. In response, countries, particularly in high-income regions, seek to fill workforce vacancies with foreign-educated health workers. To both meet the demands of high-income countries’ strained health systems and to ensure ethical and sustainable recruitment practices for equally strained low- to middle-income regions, governments, health systems, and other stakeholders should strive for workforce sustainability via effective and coordinated policy responses, both at the national and international level. If correctly endorsed and implemented, the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel can be an effective tool in helping “destination” countries and regions meet the needs of their strained health workforces while also ensuring sustainability and ethical recruitment from “source” regions that are equally at risk.
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