A University of Toronto study suggests a serious nursing shortage is on the way.

The U of T study looking at Canadian-educated registered nurses
working in the United States found that opportunities for ongoing
education, including formal support for graduate education and ease of
licensure, in addition to full-time employment, were key factors that
contribute to the migration of Canadian nurses to the U.S.,
particularly baccalaureate-educated nurses.

Bloomberg Faculty
of Nursing's professor Linda McGillis Hall, associate dean (research),
is the lead author of the study, published online in the International Nursing Review.

 

"These findings are important for Canadian health services
policy-makers to consider, as they develop strategies to retain nurses
in Canada," said Hall. "The emigration of Canadian RNs to the U.S.
worsens existing shortages in Canada and creates shortages where none
might have existed if these RNs had remained."

The study also found that:

• A greater proportion of Canadian RNs working in the U.S. were
employed full-time than their American counterparts or their Canadian
counterparts in Canada

•A higher proportion of Canadian nurses working in the U.S. hold graduate degrees, compared with those working in Canada

• Canada is viewed as a rich source of young, well-educated RNs with
the added advantage of low recruitment costs due to geographic
proximity, similar cultures and language, reciprocally recognized
orientation and basic nursing training

These findings suggest a serious depletion of nursing human capital
is on the horizon, as degree-educated nurses emigrate to the United
States, Hall said.

The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of
Canadian-educated registered nurses working in the U.S., why nurses
leave Canada, remain outside of Canada or under what circumstances
might return to Canada.

Data for this study include the 1996, 2000 and
2004 U.S. National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses and reports from
the same time period from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.