Experiences of healthcare worker returnees in their home countries: A scoping review

Ferry Efendi, Lisa McKenna, Sonia Reisenhofer, Anna Kurniati, Eka Misbhahatul Marah Has

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)


Background: International migration of healthcare workers is a global phenomenon driven by growing demand in developed countries and expectations of healthcare workers from developing countries to have improved employment and lives. This migration has been understood to impact both the individuals and countries involved, with positive and negative consequences. However, little is known about returnees’ experiences that could be used to address challenges and optimize benefits. The aim of this review was to understand what is known about experiences of migrant health workers after returning to their home countries. Methods: A scoping review of primary research addressing experiences of migrant health workers upon their return to their homelands. A range of database were searched including Career and Technical Education Database via ProQuest, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Education database via ProQuest, Excerpta Medica Care (EMCare) via Ovid, Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), Excerpta Medica database (EMBASE) via Ovid, MEDLINE and Scopus. A systematic process was performed guided by the work of Arksey and O’Malley. Eight databases were searched and 226 articles were retrieved. After screening articles and abstracts, 15 full-texts were assessed for elig-ibility, and finally seven studies were further analyzed and synthesized. Results: Five qualitative studies, one quantitative study and one mixed methods study met inclusion criteria. Five themes emerged: (1) reasons to return, (2) upskilling and deskilling, (3) impact on human, financial, and social capital, (4) challenges and opportunities in the home country, and (5) facilitation supports. Conclusion: Return migration is portrayed as a complex situation experienced by returnees. Structured policy and supports are required to help healthcare worker returnees prepare, and to adjust to life after their return. This study highlights the importance of comprehensive approach in return migration stage. Return migration policy should support healthcare worker returnees in their home country and facilitate utilization of their skills. Multi-stakeholder partnerships are vital to develop platforms for helping and facilitating returnees in the reintegration process at their home countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2217-2227
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • International migration
  • Migrant worker
  • Migration policy
  • Nurse migration
  • Return migration


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