Experiences of internationally qualified midwives and nurses in Australia and other developed nations: A structured literature review

Mitra Javanmard, Mary Steen, Rachael Vernon, Elizabeth Newnham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Midwifery is an internationally mobile profession, but there has been relatively little consideration given regarding the integration of internationally qualified midwives (IQMs), specifically from non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB), when practising midwifery in Australia and other developed nations. Aim. The initial aim of this literature review was to explore literature relating to the experiences of IQMs from NESB working in Australia and other developed nations. Due to a lack of publications in this area, the aim was expanded to include research about IQMs and internationally qualified nurses IQNs from NESB and English speaking backgrounds (ESB). Methods. Based on Cooper’s five stages of research review (1989), a comprehensive search of 11 electronic databases was conducted. The databases included Medline, CINAHL and Scopus as well as grey literature. Search terms included ‘internationally qualified midwives and nurses’, ‘overseas educated’ and ‘acculturation’. Mesh terms were combined with free-text words. Findings. A total of 27 studies met the inclusion criteria. The findings indicate that challenges co-exist for both IQMs and IQNs while working in a new foreign healthcare system. Four common challenges were extracted from the included literature: communication challenges, cultural displacement, variations in midwifery and nursing practices, and bullying and discrimination. Conclusion. Migration to new countries with diversity in language and cultural practices can cause a sense of vulnerability for IQMs and IQNs. These are increased with differences in midwifery and nursing practices and the highlighted risk of bullying.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-100
Number of pages6
JournalEvidence Based Midwifery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Acculturation
  • Evidence-based midwifery
  • Internationally qualified midwives
  • Internationally qualified nurses
  • Work integration


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