Source country perceptions, experiences, and recommendations regarding health workforce migration: a case study from the Philippines

Hum Resour Health. 2014 Oct 31:12:62. doi: 10.1186/1478-4491-12-62.


Background: The Philippines continues to overproduce nurses for export. Little first-hand evidence exists from leading organisations in the Philippines concerning their experiences and perceptions in relation to Filipino nurse migration. What are their views about health workforce migration? This paper addresses this research gap by providing a source country perspective on Filipino nurse migration to Australia.

Methods: Focus-group interviews were conducted with key informants from nine Filipino organisations in the Philippines by an Australian-Filipino research team. The organisations were purposively selected and contacted in person, by phone, and/or email. Qualitative thematic analysis was performed using a coding framework.

Results: Health workforce migration is perceived to have both positive and negative consequences. On the one hand, emigration offers a welcome opportunity for individual Filipino nurses to migrate abroad in order to achieve economic, professional, lifestyle, and social benefits. On the other, as senior and experienced nurses are attracted overseas, this results in the maldistribution of health workers particularly affecting rural health outcomes for people in developing countries. Problems such as 'volunteerism' also emerged in our study.

Conclusions: In the context of the WHO (2010) Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel it is to be hoped that, in the future, government recruiters, managers, and nursing leaders can utilise these insights in designing recruitment, orientation, and support programmes for migrant nurses that are more sensitive to the experience of the Philippines' education and health sectors and their needs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia / ethnology
  • Developing Countries / economics
  • Emigration and Immigration / trends*
  • Empirical Research
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Foreign Professional Personnel / standards
  • Foreign Professional Personnel / supply & distribution*
  • Health Planning Guidelines
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Workforce / trends
  • Humans
  • Nursing Staff* / economics
  • Nursing Staff* / standards
  • Nursing Staff* / supply & distribution
  • Philippines / ethnology
  • Rural Population
  • Volunteers / psychology