Overseas qualified nurses in Australia: Reflecting onthe issue

Grazyna Stankiewicz, Margaret Mary O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOther

14 Citations (Scopus)


Objective The migration of international nurses is a growing phenomenon and will continue in response to global nursingshortages. Historically, nursing has been depicted as a 'portable' profession, or one which enables individuals tomove across inter/national borders. This 'portability' of nursing is supporting skilled nurse migration around theworld. However, nursing practices learned by Overseas Qualified Nurses (OQN) in their home countries may differto the role and expectations of the new country in relation to scope of practice, professional and legal environment,accountability, professional autonomy, health care technology and inter-professional relationships.Primary argument Relatively little is known about the experiences of OQN in Australia and particularly, about those from non-Englishspeaking backgrounds. Supported by international literature and personal experiences, this paper describes theadaptation process and challenges faced by OQN in beginning a new life in Australia.Conclusion Australia, like many other developed countries, is facing an ageing population and an ageing health workforce,including nurses. The global shortage of nurses in many countries, including Australia, means that OQN willcontinue to be a significant part of the workforce. As the welcoming country, Australia can benefit from hosting OQNand these nurses in return contribute to the enrichment of Australian life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-38
Number of pages7
JournalThe Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Adjustment
  • Migration
  • Overseas qualified nurses

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