The (mis) management of migrant nurses in the UK: a sociological study

Radha Adhikari, Kath Melia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To examine Nepali migrant nurses’ professional life in the UK.
Background: In the late 1990s the UK experienced an acute nursing shortage. Within a decade over one thousand Nepali nurses migrated to the UK.
Method: A multi-sited ethnographic approach was chosen for this study. Between 2006 and 2009, twenty one in-depth interviews with Nepali nurses were conducted in the UK using snowballing sampling.
Results: Nepali migrant nurses are highly qualified and experienced in specialised areas such as critical care, management and education. However, these nurses end-up working in the long-term care sector providing personal care for elderly people—an area commonly described by migrant nurses as British Bottom Care (BBC). This means that migrant nurses lack career choices and professional development opportunities, causing them frustration and poor job satisfaction.
Conclusions: International nurse migration is an inevitable part of globalisation in health. Nurse Managers and policy makers need to explore ways to make better use of the talents of the migrant workforce.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Nursing Management
Early online date4 Sep 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • nurse migration
  • nursing shortage
  • brain drain
  • skill-mismatch


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