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Journal: Human resources for health


BACKGROUND: Research on practical and effective governance of the health workforce is limited. This paper examines health system strengthening as it occurs in the intersection between the health workforce and governance by presenting a framework to examine health workforce issues related to eight governance principles: strategic vision, accountability, transparency, information, efficiency, equity/fairness, responsiveness and citizen voice and participation. METHODS: This study builds off of a literature review that informed the development of a framework that describes linkages and assigns indicators between governance and the health workforce. A qualitative analysis of Health System Assessment (HSA) data, a rapid indicator-based methodology that determines the key strengths and weaknesses of a health system using a set of internationally recognized indicators, was completed to determine how 20 low- and middle-income countries are operationalizing health governance to improve health workforce performance.Results/discussion: The 20 countries assessed showed mixed progress in implementing the eight governance principles. Strengths highlighted include increasing the transparency of financial flows from sources to providers by implementing and institutionalizing the National Health Accounts methodology; increasing responsiveness to population health needs by training new cadres of health workers to address shortages and deliver care to remote and rural populations; having structures in place to register and provide licensure to medical professionals upon entry into the public sector; and implementing pilot programs that apply financial and non-financial incentives as a means to increase efficiency. Common weaknesses emerging in the HSAs include difficulties with developing, implementing and evaluating health workforce policies that outline a strategic vision for the health workforce; implementing continuous licensure and regulation systems to hold health workers accountable after they enter the workforce; and making use of health information systems to acquire data from providers and deliver it to policymakers. CONCLUSIONS: The breadth of challenges facing the health workforce requires strengthening health governance as well as human resource systems in order to effect change in the health system. Further research into the effectiveness of specific interventions that enhance the link between the health workforce and governance are warranted to determine approaches to strengthening the health system.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Health economics, Medicine, Healthcare, Health informatics, Governance, Accountability


BACKGROUND: The emigration of skilled nurses from the Philippines is an ongoing phenomenon that has impacted the quality and quantity of the nursing workforce, while strengthening the domestic economy through remittances. This study examines how the development of brain drain-responsive policies is driven by the effects of nurse migration and how such efforts aim to achieve mind-shifts among nurses, governing and regulatory bodies, and public and private institutions in the Philippines and worldwide. METHODS: Interviews and focus group discussions were conducted to elicit exploratory perspectives on the policy response to nurse brain drain. Interviews with key informants from the nursing, labour and immigration sectors explored key themes behind the development of policies and programmes that respond to nurse migration. Focus group discussions were held with practising nurses to understand policy recipients' perspectives on nurse migration and policy. RESULTS: Using the qualitative data, a thematic framework was created to conceptualize participants' perceptions of how nurse migration has driven the policy development process. The framework demonstrates that policymakers have recognised the complexity of the brain drain phenomenon and are crafting dynamic policies and programmes that work to shift domestic and global mindsets on nurse training, employment and recruitment. CONCLUSIONS: Development of responsive policy to Filipino nurse brain drain offers a glimpse into a domestic response to an increasingly prominent global issue. As a major source of professionals migrating abroad for employment, the Philippines has formalised efforts to manage nurse migration. Accordingly, the Philippine paradigm, summarised by the thematic framework presented in this paper, may act as an example for other countries that are experiencing similar shifts in healthcare worker employment due to migration.

Concepts: Psychology, Focus group, Qualitative research, Immigration, Human migration, Philippines, Policy, Nurse


Health Care Aides (HCAs) provide up to 80% of the direct care to older Canadians living in long term care facilities, or in their homes. They are an understudied workforce, and calls for health human resources strategies relating to these workers are, we feel, precipitous. First, we need a better understanding of the nature and scope of their work, and of the factors that shape it. Here, we discuss the evolving role of HCAs and the factors that impact how and where they work. The work of HCAs includes role-required behaviors, an increasing array of delegated acts, and extra-role behaviors like emotional support. Role boundaries, particularly instances where some workers over-invest in care beyond expected levels, are identified as one of the biggest concerns among employers of HCAs in the current cost-containment environment. A number of factors significantly impact what these workers do and where they work, including market-level differences, job mobility, and work structure. In Canada, entry into this ‘profession’ is increasingly constrained to the Home and Community Care sector, while market-level and work structure differences constrain job mobility to transitions, of only the most experienced workers, to the long-term care sector. We note that this is in direct opposition to recent policy initiatives designed to encourage aging at home. Work structure influences what these workers do, and how they work; many HCAs work for three or four different agencies in order to sustain themselves and their families. Expectations with regard to HCA preparation have changed over the past decade in Canada, and training is emerging as a high priority health human resource issue. An increasing emphasis on improving quality of care and measuring performance, and on integrated team-based care delivery, has considerable implications for worker training. New models of care delivery foreshadow a need for management and leadership expertise - these workers have not historically been prepared for leadership roles. We conclude with a brief discussion of the next steps necessary to generating evidence necessary to informing a health human resource strategy relating to the provision of care to older Canadians.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Health, Term, Canada, United Nations, Labour economics, Job interview


Women’s participation in medicine and the need for gender equality in healthcare are increasingly recognised, yet little attention is paid to leadership and management positions in large publicly funded academic health centres. This study illustrates such a need, taking the case of four large European centres: Charit√© - Universit√§tsmedizin Berlin (Germany), Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), Medizinische Universit√§t Wien (Austria), and Oxford Academic Health Science Centre (United Kingdom).

Concepts: European Union, United Kingdom, Europe, Germany, English language, German language, Austria, Hungary


The recession of 2008 triggered large-scale emigration from Ireland. Australia emerged as a popular destination for Irish emigrants and for Irish-trained doctors. This paper illustrates the impact that such an external shock can have on the medical workforce and demonstrates how cross-national data sharing can assist the source country to better understand doctor emigration trends.


During the long-lasting economic stagnation, the popularity of medical school has dramatically increased among pre-medical students in Japan. This is primarily due to the belief that medicine is generally a recession-proof career. As a result, pre-medical students today who want to enter medical school have to pass a more rigorous entrance examination than that in the 1980s. This paper explores the association between the selectivity of medical school admissions and graduates' later career choices.


In low- and middle-income countries, scaling essential health interventions to achieve health development targets is constrained by the lack of skilled health professionals to deliver services.

Concepts: Human, Economics, Labor, Star Trek: Voyager


Physicians play a critical role in healthcare delivery. With an aging US population, population growth, and a greater insured population following the Affordable Care Act (ACA), healthcare demand is growing at an unprecedented pace. This study is to examine current and future physician job surplus/shortage trends across the United States of America from 2017 to 2030.


Workforce studies often identify burnout as a nursing ‘outcome’. Yet, burnout itself-what constitutes it, what factors contribute to its development, and what the wider consequences are for individuals, organisations, or their patients-is rarely made explicit. We aimed to provide a comprehensive summary of research that examines theorised relationships between burnout and other variables, in order to determine what is known (and not known) about the causes and consequences of burnout in nursing, and how this relates to theories of burnout.


Medicine is a high-status, high-skill occupation which has traditionally provided access to good quality jobs and relatively high salaries. In Ireland, historic underfunding combined with austerity-related cutbacks has negatively impacted job quality to the extent that hospital medical jobs have begun to resemble extreme jobs. Extreme jobs combine components of a good quality job-high pay, high job control, challenging demands, with those of a low-quality job-long working hours, heavy workloads. Deteriorating job quality and the normalisation of extreme working is driving doctor emigration from Ireland and deterring return.