A study investigating common experiences amongst Chinese, Indian and Filipino migrant health workers in Aotearoa/New Zealand

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Peligman-Toclo, Jocelyn
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Master of Social Practice
Unitec Institute of Technology
Bridgman, Geoff
Seton, Kath
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
health workers
issues and concerns
coping responses/solutions
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Peligman-Toclo, J. (2011). A study investigating common experiences amongst Chinese, Indian and Filipino migrant health workers in Aotearoa/New Zealand. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Social Practice). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/1683
This study sought to understand the experience of Chinese, Indian and Filipino migrant health workers in New Zealand. It explored the participants’ migration and employment experiences, including their perceived roles and motivations at work. It also gathered relevant information on the needs of and issues affecting these migrant health workers and their coping responses that helped increase their opportunities to achieve their potential in the New Zealand context. Consequently, the study aimed to promote transformative participation through seeking input on how the participants think other migrants could be best helped in relation to their experiences. The general mode of inquiry is qualitative research design that involves a semi-structured interview method, supplemented with focus group discussions to generate the data, which are presented in themes. The themes were analysed generally through an interpretive approach, informed by a critical research paradigm. The Chinese, Indian and Filipino migrant health workers are a special kind of migrants who form part of the growing majority of health workers in New Zealand. Linkages with family, friends and other networks, and the aspiration to have better opportunities in terms of lifestyle, education and profession were their common drivers for migration. The shortage of health workers, the easier access to New Zealand, and the impressive physical and social environments also attracted these participants to migrate. The participants’ role in health work was one of change and accumulation. There were also patterns of under use/non-use of their professional skills in their current role; and patterns of skills use that were beyond the job description. While the participants’ core motivations for doing health work showed a strong sense of service and satisfaction, they also expect a fair return of their competence, hard work, perseverance, flexibility and willingness to try anything. The employment experience was a straightforward series of steps into professional work for some; while the challenges were often considerable for others. Challenging issues were around personal/family concerns, work-related/professional factors and problems arising from agencies as well as from immigration agents/consultants. Their coping strategies include getting better access to available information and support in the migration process and employment; further study, re-training and/or continuing education; work-related actions such as volunteering, and focussing on competence and confidence, effective communication, cultural awareness and safety, and being able to work within a team. Cultivating personal qualities such as having positive attitude, working hard, holding hope, and having spiritual faith are also important coping responses for these participants. A resilient nature had developed through the challenging experiences and the coping strategies that the participants employed. Their success factors include perceptiveness, establishing strong networks and positive social relationships, having a positive view of their personal future, flexibility and the willingness to try anything, as well as volunteering. Most went for further study/re-training and continuing education. They focused on becoming effective communicators, culturally aware and competent. They were self-motivated, and have maintained a positive attitude so they can persevere, work hard and hold hope for the future, coupled with their spiritual faith in God, which was described as the ‘foundation’ of their being resilient.
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