From diplomacy to national development: Evolution of Chinese policy on the international mobility of nurses

Document Type



There is currently a global shortage of nurses. As the world’s population continues to grow, as increased life expectancies are paralleled by an increase in chronic conditions, as new infectious diseases emerge, and as the scope of nursing practice expands, the gap between demand and supply of nurses worldwide is expected to widen. Consequently, the international recruitment of nurses has intensified. Since 1978, China has witnessed unprecedented socioeconomic developments that have directly impacted its health care system, including nursing. In addition, China has made notable progress toward integrating into the global community virtually at every front. Within the historical and current national and international contexts, this article examines the evolution of China’s policy on the transnational mobility of nurses using a domestic-international linkage interpretive framework. In particular, it focuses on the policy shift from sending nurses abroad in the form of foreign aid as a tool for international diplomacy to a strategy for national development. Then, the Filipino model of exporting nurses as a national development strategy is described and its applicability to China assessed. Finally, the implementation of this new policy and related issues are analyzed.


China; Nurses; Foreign; Nurses—Supply and demand; Nursing – Study and teaching; Philippines


Nursing Administration | Other Nursing


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