This paper describes the influence of foreign nurses upon the development of modern healthcare services and the nursing profession in Iceland in the first three decades of the twentieth century. It represents a case study of how new ideas, traditions and practices migrated between countries and cultures in the twentieth century. Icelandic society was, at that time, still premodern in many ways. Healthcare institutions were almost nonexistent and the means of production were undeveloped. It was into this context that the idea of nursing as a professional activity was introduced.
Because they face a growing nursing shortage, many U.S. health care institutions have turned to recruiting foreign nurses. For foreign nurses, the practice is often an opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families. And it helps solve a serious problem for the U.S. organizations involved. But the recruitment of foreign nurses raises a number of ethical questions. The first article here examines the practice as seen from three viewpoints, the global, that of the particular recruiting health care organization, and that of the recruited foreign nurse.