Labor Market Participation of Bachelor's Degree Prepared Nurses in Mexico: Lessons for Capacity Building

Gustavo Nigenda, Rosa A. Zárate-Grajales, Patricia Aristizabal, Allison Squires, Rosa M. Ostiguín-Meléndez, Rey A. Salcedo, Claudia Leija, Daniel Choperena, Edson Serván-Mori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Mexico has learned much from its five decades educating nurses, moving from nurses educated mostly at the technical degree level, to bachelor's degree prepared nurses educated in universities. Several salient lessons have emerged that may prove relevant for other countries seeking to increase their numbers of bachelors prepared nurses. This paper analyzes twenty years of nursing labor market data to highlight where significant social and policy changes helped facilitate increased production of bachelor's degree educated nurses in Mexico. Methods: We conducted a two-stages analysis, starting with a descriptive stage and followed by a repeated cross-sectional analysis using data sources generated by the Secretariat of Health and the National Institute of Geography and Statistics. Data from the 2005 to 2019 period were analyzed for trends in production patterns and significant relationships in the labor market. Results: Among Mexican nursing graduates, technical and bachelor nurses compete for employment in healthcare institutions. The public sector has greater success in hiring bachelors prepared nurses, but this varies by type of public sector institution. Technical degree nurses have higher underemployment rates and less job security overall. Private hospitals mainly hire technical degree nurses. The Mexican government not been able to properly regulate neither the production of new graduates nor the accreditation of schools, let alone to align roles according to the graduate's level of education. Conclusions: The success of Mexico in the twenty-first century shows that middle-income countries can increase the production and both private and public sector employment opportunities for nurses educated at both the technical and bachelor's degree level however, labor market challenges persist. The central lesson for other countries is that policies must be revised in order to optimize the use of a more educated nursing workforce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Professional Nursing
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • Education
  • Health Care Markets
  • Mexico
  • Nursing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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