The HSE's international nurse recruitment campaign has brought just 83 nurses back to Ireland.
Minister Simon Harris confirmed the scheme had received 420 applications so far.
He told the Oireachtas Health Committee that there is work to do to restore nurse's confidence in the health service.
Minister Harris says they need to boost morale in the country's hospitals to attract nurses back.
“When I talk to health care professionals, when I talk to managers, when I talk to health care groups, I don't think it is fair to say people are fed up of reform within the healthservice, but they are fed up of little bits of reform and they are fed up of never getting to complete the journey.
“I think you are right about the moral in relation to staff in the health service and in relation to patients and we have a duty to provide them with a sense of a forward looking direction of travel.”