The Business of Exporting Travel Nurses

By Christine Whitmarsh, RN, BSN

As the U.S. makes it a priority to fill empty nursing positions by any means possible, the Philippines appears to have made exporting travel nurses into a business.  I mentioned in a prior blog how the Philippines is a prominent supplier of nurses to America (despite reports that many U.S. trained travel nurses remain unemployed). A Finland newspaper, discussing travel nursing, mentioned how “the Philippines deliberately trains more nurses than it has nursing jobs available for”, with the intention of exporting those nurses to countries experiencing nursing shortages. The business of exporting Filipino nurses financially benefits the country, as the traveling nurses send money earned back to their homeland. The U.S. is reportedly the top destination for exported travel nurses, not just from the Philippines but also from European and Asian nations, with our nation’s demand for nurses on the rise. Minority even reports that physicians trained in the Philippines are switching careers to nursing in order to benefit from job opportunities in the U.S. and abroad.

Travel nursing is also a successful business here in the states, theoretically even more so during times of shortages like the U.S. is currently experiencing.  However, the data related to travel nursing and the exporting of nurses from the Philippines appears to reflect a solid business model. This model has been utilized and improved upon since its inception in 1950. Since that time Filipino nurses traveling to the states have successfully conquered issues such as language barriers, cultural differences and discrepancies in training and education.

What could our country’s travel nursing model learn from the Filipino model? Should nursing be treated more as an import and export business if it means helping to solve the nursing shortage? As a travel nurse, what are your thoughts on accepting assignments overseas versus here in the states?

Sources: Helsingin Sanomat,, American Nurses Association

Christine Whitmarsh is a Registered Nurse with a BSN from the University of Rhode Island. She is a freelance health journalist and medical writer and a contributor to Travel Nurse Source and Allied Travel Careers.

Author: Travel Nurse Source

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