Recent research and policy interest has focused on the changing composition of the nursing workforce in the Republic of Ireland, which has seen an increase in the number and importance of overseas-trained nurses. This is the most recent episode of the importance of migration in the history of nursing in Ireland which stretches back to the emergence of nursing in Ireland in the early 19th century. Delineating the intersecting histories of Irish nursing and migration, this article situates Irish nursing history within an internationalist framework involving the movement of people, ideas and practices across borders. The relevance of an internationalist analysis is demonstrated through an examination of the close connections between the British and Irish nursing institutions and labour forces and the significance of Catholic religious orders and religious migration in the development of nursing in Ireland and overseas. This analysis of the history of Irish nursing from the early nineteenth century to the mid twentieth century draws particular attention to the significance of female religious migration as a previously neglected chapter in the history of the international nurse migration in the Irish context, and it highlights the existence of the 'global nursing care chain' (Yeates, 2004, 2006, 2009) that linked Ireland to the international economy and to the development of nursing services at home and abroad
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