Nurses are central to the delivery of care in all countries. Developed countries have come to rely on many more nurses than they produce, and increasingly depend upon nurses recruited from less developed countries. "Approximately 80 percent of nurses immigrating to the United States are from developing countries, however close to 60,000 nurses residing in the U.S. come from Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and other developed countries also facing nursing shortages. This contributes to the need for these countries to recruit from developing countries," says Linda H. Aiken, professor and director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. "This exodus of nurses from developing countries impacts the ability of these countries to develop sustainable health care systems, provide appropriate care, and manage disease."
The expert group's work was based on guiding principles that advocate countries' self-sufficiency in their nursing workforce; equitable nursing migration; use of trade and foreign policy to enhance nursing capacity; and the use of partnerships among nursing peers worldwide to advance nursing services.
The group's recommendations for resolving the global nursing shortage build upon previous successes in developing policies and practices to recruit, build capacity, motivate, and retain nurses. On an international scale, the expert group recommends developing: