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Journal of Immigrant Health

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 191–202 | Cite as

The Reconstruction of Professional Identity Among Immigrant Physicians in Three Societies

  • Judith T. Shuval
Article

Abstract

The paper concerns the processes by which migrant physicians seek to re-establish themselves professionally in a new society. The empirical findings are drawn from a study of physicians who emigrated from the former Soviet Union in the early nineties to three different destinations: Canada, Israel, and the United States. The existential quality of the migration experience was explored by means of a set of life-history narratives related by immigrant physicians. Despite major structural differences among the three hosts, there are several important similarities in the processes observed in the three settings. The first concerns the high salience of the professional role for immigrant physicians and their determined efforts to regain their lossed status. These efforts are constrained by structural elements characterizing the three hosts. The second relates to the mediating effects of gender and age in the reconstruction of professional identity: female immigrant physicians are relatively disadvantaged as are older persons in the occupational sphere. Immigrant physicians who decide not to pursue medical licensure often redefine their occupational identity in areas that are close to the health field. Differences noted among the three groups are a function of structural differences among the three host societies.

profession migration physicians identity Russia 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith T. Shuval
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and School of Public HealthHebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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