Nurse Recruiters Turning to Mexico To Ease U.S. Shortage
The AP/Hartford Courant on Sunday looked at the growing number of nursing recruiters in the United States who are looking to Mexico to counter a staffing shortage affecting many U.S. hospitals. According to the AP/Courant, the recruitment of nurses from Mexico "is still in the early stages"; however, "more Mexican nurses may be heading north soon" as some companies begin to offer incentives such as reimbursement for specialized English classes, visa applications and tests for certification in the United States. According to the AP/Courant, recruiters typically have focused on finding nurses in the Philippines, India, South Korea and Nigeria. Nurses educated in foreign countries and recruited to work in the U.S. must pass a national licensing exam, an English proficiency test and comply with state nursing board standards, according to Cheryl Peterson, a registered nurse and senior policy fellow for international affairs with the American Nurses Association.
The trend has raised concerns from some World Health Organization and ANA officials in the United States and some health care experts, who say that Mexico "can ill afford to lose highly trained nurses," according to the AP/Courant. Peterson said, "The shortage here in the United States will never be as bad as it is in (many) developing countries." Nonetheless, some Mexican government employment offices "are eager to help recruiters" and have offered classrooms and administrative assistance to at least one nurse recruiting company. Mexico's State Labor Secretary Luis Ribera said, "The offers -- despite the fact that they are coming from abroad -- represent an opportunity: Nurses who leave today to work open spaces for new nurses that are leaving the universities" (Lee, AP/Hartford Courant, 6/27).