With the crowd looking on, Adeniran posed a nuanced question: What solution in nursing immigration can balance the three fundamental human rights involved? She listed them as the right of nurses to receive good wages, the right of citizens to receive good healthcare, and the right of both groups to freely migrate.
America is not stealing. America is giving opportunity to people who would not have had it, Adeniran said in an interview following her comments to Doh. Those African countries need to improve their economies so that people will stay.
That sentiment would appear to put Adeniran at odds with President Barack Obama and some of the nurses organizations in attendance at the conference, who favor ramping up the number of American-educated nurses, partly by addressing the lack of economic incentives for nurses to become college faculty. Obama has said it is a political no-brainer that America should solve its nursing crisis through domestic solutions, not immigration.
The federal stimulus bill included $500 million to train new American nurses and physicians, and states like California are already proposing their own measures to boost nurse education. Meanwhile, the State Department has announced a strict retrogression in the number of visas that will be issued to the job category that includes nurses, with the stated purpose of decreasing the number of these workers hoping to immigrate to America for work.
Mick Whitley supports initiatives to bolster Americas system of training its own nurses, but he said those efforts cant come soon enough and dont address the individual desires of nurses to further their careers and explore new cultures.
Whitley was born in Australia and got his nursing education there before immigrating to the U.K. for work. He is now president and managing director of HCL International, a healthcare recruitment firm in the European Union that is trying to get a foothold in the U.S. healthcare immigration market, and one of many recruitment exhibitors at the conference.
He said his firm tries to find ethical ways to help nurses immigrate without harming their native countries, such as through its memorandum of understanding with the government of Sri Lanka regarding how many nurses the company can recruit. They want to overproduce nurses, because 40% of the countrys income comes from foreign remittances, which are payments sent to families back home by workers abroad, Whitley said.
But he and Jacobo Cordova, president and CEO of international recruitment firm Advantis Healthcare Solutions, acknowledged international nurse recruiting has problems of the sort Doh lamented. Both named South Africa, in particular, as a country with a shortage that is being exacerbated by international recruiting. Those countries need help, Cordova said. There is no nursing shortage in the Philippines, in India, China, Korea. The No. 1 export of the Philippines is human capital.
Joe Carlson covers not-for-profit hospitals and health systems and human resources issues, including staffing, labor and management. He also covers regional healthcare business news in Florida, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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