The globalization of the labour market for health-care professionals

  • Clark P
  • Stewart J
  • Clark D
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Abstract

H ealth-care professionals have long emigrated from developing to developed countries in search of better professional and per-sonal opportunities. However, in recent years this phenomenon has accelerated significantly. Global shortages of nurses, physicians, phar-macists, and other health-care practitioners have spurred migration not just from less affluent to more affluent countries, but also between poor countries and between wealthy ones. The result is a growing global labour market for professionals in health care. The globalization of the health-care labour market has had a pro-found effect on the ability of many national heaith-care systems to deliver vital services to their citizens. The most dramatic impact is being felt in the least developed nations, where there has been a tremendous increase in emigration. Because the health-care systems in these coun-tries are largely underfunded and dysfunctional, they cannot compete effectively in the global labour market. The consequent "brain drain" from these developing countries exacerbates the already desperate state of their health-care systems, making it even harder to retain health-care professionals. This article will examine the globalization of the labour market for health-care professionals. Evidence documenting the worldwide short-age of health-care workers is presented, with a particular focus on regis-tered nurses (RNs) and physicians (MDs). Several theoretical frame-works, including various migration theories, are used to examine how this

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Authors

  • Paul F. Clark

  • James B. Stewart

  • Darlene a. Clark

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