Migration for welfare (WELLMIG) Nurses within three regimes of immigration and integration into the Norwegian welfare state

On not getting lost in translation

Marta Bivand Erdal and Lubomiła Korzeniewska write about the challenges of conducting interviews in various languages

As we interview migrant nurses from the Philippines and Poland living in Norway, we reflect on the role language plays in our research. Both of us speak Polish, English, and Norwegian. These abilities position us in particular ways linguistically vis-á-vis the nurses we interview.

Does it make a difference to be interviewed in your mother tongue, or not? Is it different than talking to researchers in your second or third language? Does it matter that you and the interviewer share several languages? And what can we, the researchers, do in order to not get lost in translation, but stay true to what our interviewees tell us? As we conduct interviews, we keep in mind the old adage: “It is important not only what people say, but also how they say it.”

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Train at station. Photo: colourbox.com

A few thoughts on a recent conference

Marie Louise Seeberg shares her thoughts about the 19th Nordic Migration Research Conference.

Researchers go to conferences to present their work, give and get feedback, brush up on the latest developments in their fields of study, learn new things, and get to know other researchers with similar interests.

The Nordic Migration Research Network

As I am writing this, I am on my way back from a conference organized every other year by the Nordic Migration Research network. This conference is organized on a rota basis between the Nordic countries and draws an audience of around 300 scholars mainly from Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark, as well as from other parts of Europe and a few from other continents.

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The roles of migration infrastructure

Jørgen Carling writes about the importance of ‘migration infrastructure’ as a theoretical concept.

Why do specific people migrate to specific destinations under specific conditions? These remain fundamental theoretical questions in migration research, even as the field has expanded to address a much broader range of issues than these fundamentals. And the past half-century has seen successive new takes on this set of questions, reflecting changing trends in social-science theory as well as shifting empirical realities of global migration.

A recent contribution which, in my opinion, holds particular promise is the concept of migration infrastructure. It is of particular relevance to the focus of the WELLMIG project—international nurse migration—in which many social, regulatory, economic and other influences coalesce.

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Nurses training at hospital. Photo: colourbox.com

Playing the role of patients

Izabella Main writes about training for Polish nurses to enhance their empathy.

In the 1991 film The Doctor, William Hurt plays Jack MacKee, a doctor who changes his views about life, illness, and human relationships after being diagnosed with cancer. As Jack experiences life as a patient, he reflects on his relationships with his patients.

When he returns to work, he begins to teach new medical interns about the importance of showing compassion and sensitivity towards their patients, which in turn will make them better doctors. Jack puts the interns in patient gowns, assigns them various illnesses and orders tests for them to “feel” the experience that they will soon put their patients through.

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Male nurse listening to older person at nursing home in the garden. Photo: colourbox.com

Learning the New Ways

Ways of walking, saying, and listening tell us more about the existing hierarchies and power relations in a workplace, Marek...

In our research, we focus on nursing practices and lived experiences within different regimes of immigration and integration. It is not surprising that each of the Polish nurses I have met during my fieldwork has a different story to tell.  The field-driven narratives vary in terms of migration decisions, initial expectations, and opinions about the recruitment procedures, including the role of recruitment agencies. However, most of the Polish nurses agree on one thing – that caring and nursing mean “something different” in Norway.

As an anthropologist, I am interested in the notion of “something different” – in its meanings and the social and cultural practices that it entails. It tells us a lot about the ways of caring and helps to problematize ‘taken for granted’ ideas, imaginaries, and understandings. In other words, by exploring nursing practices and experiences, we not only learn about the health care system, but also about what care means in a particular cultural context and how it is embedded in wider social relations.

While pointing out the differences between nursing and caring in Poland and in Norway, many nurses have used the phrase, “I had to learn how to….” This entails both learning how the Norwegian health care system works, and also learning how to practice nursing and caring in new ways.

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Researchers at the Poznan meeting. March 2018. Photo: Izabella Main

The WELLMIG team meets in Poznań, Poland

In early March 2018, our research team met in Poznań to discuss preliminary findings, methodological challenges and successes, and to...

We combine different qualitative methods. Some of our research is done by participating at workplaces and other social settings where nurses from the three countries take part. Another substantial part of the research is done through interviews. By now, we have interviewed approximately 60 nurses, including Filipino nurses residing in Norway as well as Filipino nurses in the Philippines, and Polish nurses who have worked in many different parts of Norway.

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The word test in a dictionary. Photo: colourbox.com

A Graded System

Taylor Vaughn and Marie Louise Seeberg write about how both informal and formal rules are different for Swedish, Polish and...

In order for us to better understand and contextualize our ethnographic and interview data, we have begun compiling the information we already know and are finding out about the structural conditions, or regimes, shaping the migration and integration of nurses to Norway. These regimes may be further broken down into formal and informal sets of rules.

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Seminar: Shame, embarrassment and identity among Polish migrants in Norway

Book seminar at PRIO with Marek Pawlak and Thomas Hylland Eriksen 23 May 2018.

This PRIO Migration Breakfast seminar features a discusssion between Dr. Marek Pawlak (Jagiellonian University, Kraków) and Professor Thomas Hylland Eriksen (University of Oslo) on the themes raised in Pawlak’s recent book ‘Embarrassing Identity. Emotions, Ideologies and Power among Polish Migrants in Norway’.

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Waiting for Statistics Norway

Hans Christian Sandlie describes how the researchers in Wellmig will provide an overview of the migration and integration of nurses...

The main body of data in WELLMIG is qualitative. However, the study design calls for supplementing these data with quantitative descriptions that can give us an overview of the migration and integration of nurses from Sweden, Poland, and the Philippines.

In order to provide quantitative indicators of integration, we need registry data, that is data that is collected and stored by Statistics Norway. About a year ago, we sent the application for access to unpublished data and tables to Statistics Norway. Data are of course no Godot, but with the patience of Vladimir and Estragon, we are still waiting for statistics …

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Manila city in the Philippines.

For my family

Aslaug Gotehus has interviewed nursing students and hospital nurses in the Philippines about migration.

It is about paying back to my parents, to be a provider for them

(Male nurse in Cavite who aspires to move overseas.)

The Philippines is the world’s largest provider of foreign-educated nurses. The training of nurses for overseas migration was implemented by the Marcos regime (1965-986) as a short-term solution to alleviate the high unemployment rate and high foreign debt. More than 40 years later, the number of trained nurses that leave the country annually is still immense.

Filipino nurses have been migrating to Norway since the 1970s. By 2010, approximately 1,000 Filipino nurses, mostly women, had settled and worked in Norway.

In an attempt to understand the phenomenon of Filipino nurse migration to Norway, I spent a few weeks in the Philippines interviewing nursing students and hospital nurses in Metro Manila, and the provinces of Cavite, Leyte and Iloilo.

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