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Israel Journal of Health Policy Research

, 5:18

The healthcare workforce


BackgroundRecruitment and retention of a diverse ethnic workforce in healthcare settings contribute to the provision of culturally competent care in multicultural contexts. Nevertheless, the work experiences of ethnic minority nurses, which impact the attractiveness of the occupation, job burnout and turnover intentions, are not well understood.

The present exploratory research seeks to examine the work experiences of ethnic minority Arab nurses in Israeli public hospitals. Israel is an interesting case study as the number of Arab nurses operating in the Israeli workforce has risen significantly over recent decades; many of them work in mixed Jewish-Arab environments, which are affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

MethodsIn-depth interviews with 13 Arab nurses working in Israeli public hospitals.

ResultsThe interviewed Arab nurses mentioned various benefits associated with the nursing profession, as well as various difficulties they encounter during their daily work, which are specific to them as ethnic minority nurses. They describe nursing as an occupation that offers numerous employment opportunities, job security, professional development and promotion. They believe that their work as a nurse contributes to the health of the Arab family and community and enhances culturally competent healthcare in Israeli hospitals. However, Arab nurses also feel they are stereotyped; they face disapproving looks, refusal to be treated by them, and incidences of hostility toward them. The dual experience of both integration and rejection shapes their coping strategies.

ConclusionsThe findings can inform a more systematic study that could potentially examine both nurses’ and patients’ conceptions of multicultural care. Action should be taken to ensure optimal working conditions for Arab healthcare professionals. Institutional policies and actions are needed to cope with their unique difficulties, such as the appointment of a functionary responsible for minimizing and coping with stereotypical and hostile attitudes.

KeywordsArabs Ethnic Groups Israel Sociological Factors Minority Groups Nursing A comment to this article is available at

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Autor: Yael Keshet - Ariela Popper-Giveon


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