Nurses, Inc.: expansion and commercialization of nursing education in the Philippines

Soc Sci Med. 2010 Jul;71(1):166-72. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.11.043. Epub 2010 Mar 20.


Exporting nurses has been a long-standing economic strategy for the Philippine government, despite the fact that the Philippines' domestic health system is weak and existing supplies of health workers are poorly distributed. This study explores the role of nursing schools as "migrant institutions" in expanding and commercializing nursing education and perpetuating the link between nursing education and migration. Data were collected primarily via in-depth interviews of key informants (nursing school administrators and policymakers) in the Philippines. Results suggest that nursing schools have expanded migration opportunities by making nursing educational available to more students and more diverse student populations. Also, some nursing schools have acted to control the licensure and recruitment processes by establishing commercial relationships with licensure exam review centers and recruitment agencies. These activities perpetuate the culture of migration in the country's nursing profession and indirectly contribute to declining quality of nursing education, misuse of scarce resources, corruption in the nursing sector, and exacerbation of existing health workforce imbalances.

MeSH terms

  • Commerce*
  • Education, Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Humans
  • Interinstitutional Relations
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Licensure, Nursing
  • Nurses / supply & distribution*
  • Organizational Culture
  • Personnel Selection
  • Philippines
  • Schools, Nursing / economics
  • Schools, Nursing / organization & administration*