Life as an Extreme Sport

U.S. Plan to Lure Nurses May Hurt Poor Nations – New York Times

U.S. Plan to Lure Nurses May Hurt Poor Nations – New York Times

There are two really interesting things in this article: that this is a separate provision than the current immigration bill, that is being conveniently overlooked by those arguing against immigrations of all kind (“ignore the brown people – unless they’ll be my nurse!”), and this quote:

“The Filipino people will suffer because the U.S. will get all our trained nurses,” said George Cordero, president of the Philippine Nurse Association. “But what can we do?”

It’s an interesting debate, because it’s not like there’s really much the Phillipine’s can do – they can’t suddenly find the money to pay their nurses much, much more than anyone else’s salaries, just to remain competitive.

And something that most people who’re anti-immigration of all stripes don’t realize is that the reason immigrants here in the United States (legal and otherwise) live in conditions we would consider stacked upon humans is that 1) it’s not unusual compared to where they grew up and 2) they’re sending an awful lot of their money home. Many immigrants have a much stronger tie to their families and communities, and not a strong desire for a lot of the material things that we Americans seem to think is our birthright.

I stop in Ross every few weeks to look for things missing from my wardrobe, and I almost always see the same group of three Ethiopean women there, buying a hundred or more dollars of clothing each trip. One of the women – I’m guessing the only one who spoke enough English to chitchat, since she seems to always do all their talking in English – started talking to me (about something I was wearing), and I asked what I had been wondering: why are they always buying so much clothing. Turns out they’re sending most of it home to their family still in Africa; it’s one of the hottest commodities they can send.

Anyhow. Just musings.

One comment

  1. I like the way you put it. It’s funny how all of these people yelling and screaming about the “invasion” from all the brown people from south of the border, all of a sudden are all “hip-hip-hooray” when the prospect is of having a cute nurse from the Philippines at a hospital, earning slave wages relative to US-trained nurses but saving the US a bundle in training. So what if this winds up killing a couple thousand poor unfortunate little kids in the Philippines who died while waiting for a nurse that wasn’t there?

    I guess that’s the virtue of modern globalization, Tom Friedman-style– rich, fat Americans get to lard themselves up and sit on their fat, lazy asses and fail to invest in an obvious solution like, oh, investing in more nursing schools with quality training and, uh, like, actually paying nurses here a wage that they can live on. But despite this, we can still get by since we’ll just poach the hard-working nurses who’ve been trained by desperately poor countries who need them more than ever and have invested billions in their training.

    There are some things that the Philippines and India can do, but they’d really need to step up and take smart political action. They could for example help to fund nurses’ education in the Philippines, but then introduce a strict requirement that the nurses have to give at least something like 5 years of service within the country before even considering leaving the country. (This is no different than what the US does in providing scholarships to doctors in return for their working in underserved areas.)

    They could negotiate with the US for compensation for the lost nurses, or perhaps arrange for a situation in which the nurses spend a decade or so in the US but then return– this would be good for both sides, give Filipino nurses extra training and help the US health system but encourage them to return. Barring this, I dunno– have them train in French rather than English or something? Less poaching as a result.

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