184491 Measuring the Migration of Nurses from the Bahamas: Why so Low, Relative to other Caribbean Nations?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 8:30 AM

Amy E. Adelberger, MPH , University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Anne Sales , Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Amy Hagopian, PhD , School of Public Health, Dept of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
The migration rates of nurses from the Caribbean are difficult to measure. No standard data sources exist to monitor out-migration across the Caribbean. The purpose of this study was to collect primary data on the migration patterns of Bahamian nurses registered between 1994 and 2005, and educated at the College of the Bahamas.

We used an established social network identification method developed by Delanyo Dovlo to identify whether (and to where) Bahamian nurses had migrated. We collected nursing registrants' records from the Nursing Council of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and contacted by telephone two nurses per registration year. Interviewees were asked to recall each of her graduating year classmates as their names were read, and identify the current location of each.

Ninety-six percent of those nurses registered during the study were located during the location exercise, in part because of an improvement on the Dovlo method -- calling a nurse leader to locate nursing classmates. Between 1994 and 2005, only ten of 295 nurses were confirmed to have migrated from the Bahamas and seven had probably migrated. Conversely, foreign-born registration increased greatly in 1997 and 1998. We will share theories about why Bahamian nurses migrate in smaller numbers than their neighboring countries.

The sudden increase in in-migration and comparatively low rates of out-migration pose opportunities for further research. Future studies using social network identification to characterize workforce migration patterns should include our modification (interview of a class leader) to confirm the location of a wider range of people than the average participant.

Learning Objectives:
After the presentation, participants will be able to: 1) describe the key issues related to the migration of nurses in the caribbean 2) identify the the proportion of nurse migrants by year (1994 - 2005) 3) articulate an improvement on social networking research (interviewing nurse leaders) 4) discuss why Bahamian nurses may be leaving the Bahamas at a slower rate than nurses in other Caribbean countries

Keywords: International Systems, Nurses

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I worked in the Caribbean for five years on human capacity development with nurses and other health care providers. I wrote my graduate thesis on the migration of nurses from the Caribbean, specifically the Bahamas.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.