Midwives on the move: comparing the requirements for practice and integration contexts for internationally educated midwives in Canada with the U.S., U.K. and Australia

Midwifery. 2011 Jun;27(3):368-75. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2011.03.010. Epub 2011 May 23.


Midwives have long been internationally mobile, but there has been relatively little attention paid to the requirements that internationally educated midwives (IEMs) must meet to practice and become integrated into the health-care systems of their destination country. This paper examines from a comparative perspective the policy context and integration procedures that IEMs must follow in order to practice in Canada and how this compares with the U.S., the U.K., and Australia. The data upon which this paper is based are largely derived from an analysis of documents and websites for key organisations involved in the integration process supplemented with interviews with key informants influential in the assessment and integration of IEMs. What these data reveal is that the challenges for IEMs derive in large part from the differences in entry to practice requirements-midwifery and nursing training in three of the cases, baccalaureate training in one. Another critical factor is whether bridging or adaptation programmes are available (rarely in the U.S.), and whether they focus more on orientation objectives (as they do in the U.K. and Australia) or also the upgrading of skills (as they do in Canada) critical for IEM professional integration. These different approaches to the integration of IEMs have important implications for the 'brain drain' and 'brain waste' of much needed midwifery skills in both source and destination countries.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Communication Barriers
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Employment / organization & administration*
  • Foreign Professional Personnel / supply & distribution*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Licensure, Nursing
  • Midwifery / organization & administration*
  • Personnel Selection / organization & administration*
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling / organization & administration*
  • United Kingdom
  • United States