Nursing Study Analyzes Trends and Impact of Foreign-Educated Nurses on U.S. Health Care System

Analysis of international nurse migration trends

From 2005 to 2006, staff at AcademyHealth—a nonpartisan health services membership, research and policy analysis organization based in Washington—examined available trend data on immigration to the United States of nurses educated abroad, and assessed the policy implications of this nation's growing reliance on foreign nurses.

Key Findings

  • Nurse immigration to the United States has tripled since 1994 to close to 15,000 entrants annually. As of 2006, about 8 percent of U.S. registered nurses, numbering around 219,000, are foreign educated.

  • Foreign-educated nurses are located primarily in urban areas and are more likely to work in hospitals than are native-born nurses. There is little evidence that they locate in areas of medical need in any greater proportion than native-born nurses.

  • Although foreign-educated nurses are ethnically more diverse than native-born nurses, a relatively small proportion is Black or Hispanic.

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