“We are the international nurses”: An exploration of internationally qualified nurses’ experiences of transitioning to New Zealand and working in aged care
Brittany Jenkins, RN,MN, Associate Director of Nursing-Clinical Practice Development, West Coast District Health Board, Greymouth, NZ
Annette Huntington, RN, PhD, Professor & Head of School of Nursing, Massey University, Wellington, NZ
Internationally qualified nurses are a significant proportion of the registered nurse workforce in New Zealand and other developed countries. A considerable number of these nurses come from India and the Philippines, and many practice in aged care in New Zealand. However, few studies have explored the international nurses’ experience of working in this practice setting, which could influence migration and employment decisions. The current research was conducted to explore the experiences of Filipino and Indian internationally qualified nurses who transitioned to New Zealand as registered nurses in aged care. This small-scale study was conducted in a large retirement facility in urban New Zealand using a qualitative approach. Data were collected in July 2014 using a combination of semi-structured interviews and one focus group with nurses from India (n=1) and the Philippines (n=5), then analysed thematically. Findings from this study indicate that participants experienced three challenging transitions as they came to New Zealand and entered practice in aged care. The physical transition describes separation from family and culture, and adaptation to the New Zealand environment and cooler climate, which negatively influenced perceptions of early transitioning, while the social transition highlights socio-cultural distinctions and how social networks were utilised as a coping strategy. The professional transition demonstrates pre- and post-registration issues associated with becoming a New Zealand registered nurse in aged care, and features socio-cultural differences in healthcare and nursing. Overall, findings from this study highlight that internationally qualified nurses from India and the Philippines simultaneously experience a number of physical, social, and professional hardships as they transition to aged care facilities in New Zealand. These findings raise questions about how these nurses are supported and provide valuable insights that can assist with future workforce planning, policy making, and research.
Aged care; Filipino; Indian; internationally qualified nurse; New Zealand; Philippines