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The Times: "What am I bid for this nurse?"

May 4, 2004 -- Today the Times (U.K.) ran a very short, unsigned item about a proposal in a recent Department for International Development report on "international nurse recruitment" that the U.K. should "consider giving cash to developing countries to compensate for taking their nurses." The Times' headline (above) is catchy, if somewhat unfair to the developing nations--they haven't offered their nurses for sale, after all--and to nurses, who are economic actors, but not chattel.

The article does not say so, but presumably the funding suggestion was made in light of the global nursing shortage, which has spawned massive nurse migration from developing nations to far higher paying positions in the developed world, leaving the nurses' home nations short of nurses themselves. The piece notes that two U.K. nursing publications take different views of the idea. The Nursing Times reportedly has proposed different ways the compensation might be calculated--based on the emigrating nurses' length of stay, cost of training, or cost of employment in the destination country, or based on the cost to the developing nation to train and recruit replacement nurses. The Nursing Standard reportedly has proposed that the U.K. instead give more money to U.K. nursing associations to "raise the status of the profession and curb migration," a suggestion that seems more likely to address the root causes of the shortage.

See the article "What am I bid for this nurse?" in the May 4, 2004 issue of the Times of London.


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