Admiral Kenneth Moritsugu is an expert when it comes to public health systems and policies. As the former Deputy Surgeon General of the United States as well as former Acting Surgeon General, he has a wealth of knowledge about the county’s health care system. He recently wrote an op-ed for RealClearHealth in which he discusses the role that foreign-educated nurses play in that system.
“Nearly 1 in 5 health care workers left their jobs,” Admiral Moritsugu writes about the crippling shortage of nurses following the COVID-19 pandemic. Many nurses cited physical, mental, or emotional stress for their resignations. While nursing shortages were magnified during the pandemic, Moritsugu notes that these employee shortages are not new and have been pervasive for nearly 40 years.
Moritsugu also writes about health care staffing firms, which assisted hospitals and facilities in tackling COVID-19. These firms arrange for foreign-educated nurses to come to live and work in the U.S. along with their immediate families. “A mutually beneficial relationship” is how Moritsugu describes the arrangement, as the nurses and their families as well as the health care facilities they serve greatly benefit. Many of the foreign-educated nurses in the U.S. largely come from the Philippines, Europe, India, and Africa, earning more money as a nurse in the U.S. than they could in their home country.
The opportunity allows them to provide for their family members that come with them to the U.S., as well as their relatives in their home country. For hospital and healthcare facilities, foreign-educated nurses help alleviate strain and contribute to an improved health care system that better serves patients. Accordingly, Admiral Moritsugu argues that policymakers and the healthcare industry should continue to support foreign-educated nurses and health care specialists. Read his full op-ed here.