– Bijaya Deuja
The Nursing Profession is an esteemed profession that provides humanitarian care. In Nepal, this profession seems to be appealing to many youngsters. According to the Nepal Nursing Council, the current registration status until September 7, 2020, the total number of nurses in Nepal is 95,384. ANM (Auxiliary Nurse Midwife) is 33,745; staff nurses are 60,795, and foreign nurses are 844.
In the current scenario, the tendency of brain drain in Nepal is escalating. Brain drain is the emigration of highly trained or qualified people from a particular country. In other words, it is a situation where a nation loses its skilled workers. As per the record provided by Nepal Nursing Council, a total number of 3,461 nurses migrated above between 2002 and 2011.
Meanwhile, the number further increased to 4,155 from 2011 to 2013. Besides this, there are no systematically collected data available to acknowledge the extent of nurse’s migration from Nepal to abroad. At present, the most common destination countries for the migration of Nepali Nurses are the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
A multitude of reasons influence and guide nurses’ decisions to emigrate, for instance- the financial, social, the political status of their nation, professional, and personal factors. Undoubtedly, the economic factor is the primary reason for the drain, which incorporates low salaries, lack of incentives, and overtime payments from the employer. Both the pull and push factors are driving nurses for migration.
Pull aspects of migration include better career opportunities, high income, better lifestyle, greater job satisfaction, and better quality of the host countries’ management and governance. Conversely, various push factors of migration of Nepali nurses include lack of appealing income, excessive workload, the threat of violence in the workplace, burnout situation, lack of motivation, and lack of fair evaluation by the seniors as well as demoralization of nurses.
Likewise, lack of provision of staff deployment according to their academic qualification and experience, lack of staff development opportunities like inadequate or lack of in-service education, training, lack of promotion and rewards are leading to frustrations as well as job dissatisfaction, which are causing frequent turnovers of the staff in the organization. Moreover, workplace violence and professional issues also need to be seriously addressed by the concerned bodies.
However, more than this, the nation is losing its competent human resources in the nursing profession. Correspondingly, there is a prevalence of in discrepancy in production, and the mobilization of nurses is increasing. Indisputably, the rising trend of brain drain in Nepal causes the possibility of insufficiently skilled nurses that leads to an inability to meet the nation’s health goals in the future. In addition, the nurse-patient ratio will further low down in similarity to the global standard that definitely influences negatively on the delivery of quality nursing care.
Many studies have suggested that if a better working environment with better educational opportunities and better remuneration is provided for nurses in Nepal, there is a higher chance of job retention and less brain drain. So, it seems crucial in the source country like Nepal to advocate for good pay and incentives. These profound staff development opportunities decrease the trend of brain drain of nurses.
Similarly, some experts recommend that the Government of Nepal and concerned regulatory bodies be more passionate about making the nursing profession more dignified and enhancing abundant motivation in the nursing profession. It also seems to be the provision of government regulation in regular monitoring of the nursing profession’s international standards as possible.
Furthermore, nursing guidelines and policies should be updated as per international practice for nurses’ overall welfare and to flourish the nursing profession. The increasing trend of brain drain is minimized in the future.
Bijaya Deuja works as staff nurse at Nepal Police Hospital Kathmandu.