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Recent Trends in International Migration of Doctors, Nurses and Medical Students

image of Recent Trends in International Migration of Doctors, Nurses and Medical Students

This report describes recent trends in the international migration of doctors and nurses in OECD countries. Over the past decade, the number of doctors and nurses has increased in many OECD countries, and foreign-born and foreign-trained doctors and nurses have contributed to a significant extent. New in-depth analysis of the internationalisation of medical education shows that in some countries (e.g. Israel, Norway, Sweden and the United States) a large and growing number of foreign-trained doctors are people born in these countries who obtained their first medical degree abroad before coming back. The report includes four case studies on the internationalisation of medical education in Europe (France, Ireland, Poland and Romania) as well as a case study on the integration of foreign-trained doctors in Canada.

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The Irish paradox: Doctor shortages despite high numbers of domestic and foreign medical graduates

Ireland has the highest number of medical graduates per population among OECD countries, but half of the students come from other countries. The number of international students is not subject to the numerus clausus policy that limits the entry of Irish students into medical education, and the medical schools have become increasingly dependent on the tuition fees international students pay. However, the large student numbers are not matched by opportunities to complete an internship and postgraduate training. To the contrary, the number of internship places for international medical students has fallen as national authorities reserve a greater proportion for the growing number of Irish medical graduates to ensure a good return on the public investment in their education. Thus, most international students try to complete their medical education and enter postgraduate training outside Ireland. Also, many Irish medical graduates and (newly trained) doctors seek training and job opportunities abroad. Hence, while Ireland provides initial medical education to a large number of students, since many leave the country after graduation, it nonetheless relies heavily on international recruitment of doctors to fill its domestic needs. More coherent education, training, and employment policies are needed to address this paradox.

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