Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The skills and brain drain what nurses say

Likupe, Gloria


Profile Image

Dr Gloria Likupe
Lecturer and Researcher in Healthcare/ Chairperson of School Athena Swan group


Aims and objectives. To explore sub-Saharan African nurses' reasons for moving to the UK, their views on the skills and brain drain, and what can be done to stem the situation. Background. The UK and other developed nations such as the USA, Canada and Australia have been recruiting internationally qualified nurses including those from sub-Saharan African, which has raised concerns of skills and brain drain from these countries that are known to suffer from nurse shortages. Methods. A purposeful sample of 30 nurses from sub-Saharan African was drawn from four National Health Service trusts in the north-east of England. Using focus group discussions and personal interviews, the study explored and examined nurses' views on their motivation to move to the developed countries and what can be done to reduce nurse migration from sub-Saharan African and give those countries a chance to develop their health systems by retaining their health personnel. Results. Five main themes emerged from data analysis: poor remuneration, lack of professional development in the home countries, poor health care and systems, language and education similarities and easy availability of jobs and visas. Conclusion. Data indicate that migration motives for nurses are complex and inherent in historical links and in global values. Nurses stressed that they would like to stay in their own countries and help develop healthcare there, but reasons for moving were often strong and apparently not within their control. Relevance to clinical practice. Nurse migration from sub-Saharan African has often been cited as a limitation in providing effective healthcare in those countries. Delineating motivational factors for nurses could help to stem this migration. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Likupe, G. (2013). The skills and brain drain what nurses say. Journal of clinical nursing, 22(9-10), 1372-1381.

Acceptance Date Apr 15, 2012
Online Publication Date Apr 10, 2013
Publication Date 2013-05
Deposit Date Dec 15, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Journal of Clinical Nursing
Print ISSN 0962-1067
Electronic ISSN 1365-2702
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 9-10
Pages 1372-1381
Keywords Brain drain; Sub-Saharan Africa; Nurse migration; United Kingdom; Health care
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information "This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Likupe, G (2013) The skills and brain drain what nurses say in Journal of Clinical Nursing 22(9-10) pp.1372-1381, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving."


You might also like

Downloadable Citations