Canadian Nurse Graduates Considering Migrating Abroad for Work: Are Their Expectations Being Met in Canada?

Michelle Freeman, Lizette Beaulieu, Jamie Crawley


An RN credential has been called "a ticket to the world." Canadian RNs have been active participants in migration, especially to the United States. In an increasingly globally oriented world, Canadian nurse graduates have many employment options. The purpose of this study was to explore the job values and expectations of baccalaureate nursing students who indicated they were considering migrating for work abroad for their first job and to explore their confidence in having these values met in Canada compared to another country. This was a quantitative study guided by the Value-Expectancy Framework. Data were collected through a Web-based self-report survey and analyzed using descriptive statistics for sample characteristics and t tests for comparison. Nonprobability convenience sampling of graduating baccalaureate nursing students from a Canadian border region was used. Of 130 respondents, 92 (70.8%) indicated that they were considering migrating from Canada for work. Respondents believed that working abroad would provide more adventure, fulltime work, professional development, appropriate staffing, flexible scheduling, and freedom to choose their preferred job sector/specialty. The authors conclude that there is a need to study nursing graduates' labour mobility both within and outside of Canada and the factors that influence their decision-making and to address the factors that encourage them to leave Canada. Human resource planning will become increasingly important given the predicted nursing shortage and changes to nurse licensure in Canada with the potential to influence migration.

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