Nursing Migration and Global Health

Globalization has touched upon every sphere of human activities, particularly nursing that encountered many new challenges because of it. As mentioned by Crigger (2008), “With globalization, the borders of nations become porous and encounters among people become inevitable. Exchanges and changes occur among people, nations, and ideas” (p. 19). Such exchanges are obligatory for nursing where sharing experiences is an integral part of work. Nurses play an important role in the global health, and nursing migration should be paid special attention to owing to its enormous contribution to the effective healthcare system worldwide.

It is necessary to mention that the role of nurses in the global health should not be underestimated. Nurses can be regarded as a foundation of the health delivery system. Even though nursing is largely dependent on medicine, nurses are always in demand, and it is namely their work that medicine is based on. This is of special importance when it comes to discussing global health, because many developing countries have a few skilled healthcare professionals and, rather often, people cannot be cured from diseases that take a couple of days of treatment in the developed countries.

However, the role of nurses in the global health should not be limited to the healthcare delivery only. In addition, they are supposed to be leaders and educators that not only deal with treating and preventing diseases, but also share their nursing experience while communicating with their counterparts in other countries. Moreover, the nurses’ role is to reduce and eliminate disparities “so that better health is achieved for all people” (Crigger, 2008, p. 17). In this way, nurses become global leaders whose primary concern is to improve the country’s access to healthcare system and create educational programs that would make nursing knowledge applicable on a global scale, thus, ensuring equal access to healthcare system.

Even thought, globalization seems to be a positive process, it has entailed a number of contradictory issues, such as global migration of nurses. At first glance, migration of nurses seems to be a positive change triggered by globalization, because nurses from poorer countries are able to get well-paid and stable jobs. On the other hand, nursing migration leads to human resource shortages in poor countries, which is unfair from the perspective of global justice. It is my firm belief, however, that global recruitment of nurses is a long-term investment into the improvement of healthcare delivery system worldwide.

It seems reasonable to consider that nursing migration can eventually lead not only to the improvement of global health, but also to the elimination of cultural borders between different countries. Nurses come back to their native countries with invaluable experience they can use to improve the healthcare system of their own countries. In addition, migrating nurses learn to be culturally competent and, therefore, adopt cultural practices used throughout the world and then share them with their counterparts, contributing to the overall improvement of the global health. Moreover, human resources shortage that arises as a result of their migration can be a sufficient reason for reorienting foreign aid to deal with the issue of global justice.

In conclusion, it is possible to improve global healthcare through diversity. Nurses play an enormous role in global healthcare system enabling people to access healthcare system and raising their awareness about prevention and treatment of diseases. Furthermore, migration nurses can contribute to the elimination of cultural borders between different countries. Even though the global recruitment of nurses is a rather contradictory issue, it still has more positive aspects because giving nurses well-paid jobs can help the government of poor countries get financial aid for retaining their workforce, thus, making migration of nurses just a global phenomenon.


Crigger, N. (2008). Towards a viable and just global nursing ethics. Nursing Ethics, 15(1), 17-27.