Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nursing Prerequisites for New Immigrants to Israel

By Brenne Meirowitz, B.A., M.S., M.A.
The demand for licensed nurses continues to grow in Israel, so if you are planning to make Aliyah and work as a nurse, this article briefly covers Israeli nursing prerequisites for licensing. The Agaf HaSiud - the nursing division of the Misrad HaBriut (Ministry of Health), issues all Israeli registered nurse licenses, so when possible, you should have your foreign transcripts reviewed by the Misrad HaBriut, before making Aliyah. In most cases, an educational waiver will be granted if your foreign transcripts contain coursework that covers at least 80% of Israeli mandated theoretical and clinical studies coursework. If you are lacking any of the courses, you may take the necessary nursing prerequisite courses in Israel. However, in either case, a mandatory, 98 hour (7 credit) preparatory internship must be satisfactorily completed before a nursing candidate is eligible to take the exam.

The core curriculum for those interested in becoming a registered nurse in Israel requires all graduates to complete 156 academic credits. All courses completed by nursing applicants must conform to minimum standards set by the Israeli Ministry of Health. The core nursing program consists of the following four domains of study:

  • Nursing sciences: 25 academic credits
  • Social, Behavioral and Life sciences: 48 academic credits
  • Clinical studies: 74 total academic credits broken down into 55 theoretical units of study and 19 academic credits of clinical experience.
  • Advanced practicum: 9 academic credits

In addition to completing all academic nursing prerequisites for licensure, students must complete a mentor directed study program in an Israeli hospital. The three mandatory areas of study cover Israeli laws and regulations, an overview of the Israeli health system, and training for states of emergency and trauma. A booklet provided by Misrad Habriut covers these areas and is a good study guide.

For most immigrants, the thought of learning a new language can be somewhat daunting and even discouraging, especially for those who work in a specialized field, such as health care, which requires fluency in technical terms in addition to the basic conversational and written language. In an effort to ease the process and promote immigration, the nursing exam in Israel is offered English, Arabic, Spanish, French, and Russian in addition to Modern Hebrew.

However, each applicant must pass a Hebrew proficiency test before taking the exam in his or her alternative language of choice. New Olim (immigrants) are encouraged to take advantage of free Hebrew language classes (Ulpan) offered throughout Israel, as well as obtain industry specific language guides, available by contacting the Israeli Ministry of Education (Misrad Hachinuch). The nursing exam in Hebrew is given twice a year, usually in April and October, while the exam in English is given only once a year - sometime in the fall. If planned well, applicants should complete all nursing prerequisites in time to meet testing schedules.

For more information about alternative language testing, including the medical field, applicants should visit the National Institute for Testing and Evaluation (NITE) website. NITE is an Israeli academic organization supervised by a board of directors consisting of representatives from all Israeli academically recognized universities. The website includes Hebrew and English proficiency practice exams.


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