From aspirations to “dream-trap”: nurse education in Nepal and Nepali nurse migration to the UK
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Appendix 2 - SINHAS paper.pdf (370.8Kb)
Appendix 3 - EBHR article.pdf (513.5Kb)
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The migration of nurses is stimulating international debate around globalisation, ethics, and the effects on health systems. This thesis examines this phenomenon through nurses trained in Nepal who migrate to the UK. Since 2000, increasing numbers of Nepali nurses have started crossing national borders to participate in the global healthcare market, particularly in the affluent west. By using qualitative multisited research and in-depth interviews with key stakeholders in both Nepal and the UK, this thesis explores why nurses aspire to migrate, how they fulfil these aspirations, and their experience of living and working in the UK. The thesis begins by examining the historical development of nurse training in Nepal, particularly from the mid 1950s. This period saw profound socio-political transformations, including in the position of women in Nepali society and in the perception of nursing in Nepal. Previously, many families were very reluctant to send their daughters into nursing. By the late 1990s, middle-class women and their families were increasingly attracted to nursing, both as a vocation and as a means to migrate. The thesis explores the rise of private training colleges to meet the increased demand for nurse training, and the new businesses that have grown up around the profession to facilitate nurse recruitment and migration. Around one thousand nurses have migrated to the UK since 2000, and the second part of the thesis presents their experiences of the migration process and of working and settling in the UK. Nurses have faced complex bureaucratic and professional hurdles, particularly after UK nurse registration and work-permit policies changed in 2006. The thesis also highlights how highly qualified nurses with many years of work experience in Nepal have become increasingly deskilled in UK. Frequently sent to rural nursing-homes by recruiting agencies, they create and join new diasporic support networks. Further, many have left their loved ones behind, and experience homesickness and the pain of family separation. Often, they plan for their husbands and children to join them after several years, and the research explores this and the issues faced by their families, as they relocate and adapt to life in the UK. Finally, the thesis makes some important policy recommendations. For Nepal, these relate to greater regulation of nurse training and the brokering of nurses abroad. In the UK, they relate to increasing the flexibility of registration and visa regulations to assist in supporting Nepali nurses' work choices, and to value and utilise their professional skills in the UK better.