Academic journal article Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

The Essence of Nursing in the Shifting Reality of Israel Today

Academic journal article Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

The Essence of Nursing in the Shifting Reality of Israel Today

Article excerpt

Abstract

Israel's healthcare system is undergoing constant transformation; nurses' roles and education are changing accordingly. Israel's severe shortage of physicians has led to an increase in nurses' authority and responsibilities. The nursing profession is addressing many questions particularly in light of its expanded responsibilities and the current lack of legislation related to the practice of nursing. Additionally Israel is coping with an increasing shortage of nurses and the rapid development of innovative technologies. This article describes Israel's shifting reality and the nation's responses to these changing conditions. Responses include increasing financial support, enhancing educational opportunities, expanding the nursing role, and using new technologies.

Citation: Oren, M., Ben Natan, M., (May 23, 2011) "The Essence of Nursing in the Shifting Reality of Israel Today" OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing Vol. 16 No. 2.

DOI: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol16No02PPT04

Keywords: Israel nurses, nursing shortage, professional development, nursing education, nursing management, Israel healthcare system, nurse practitioner, nurse education, registered nurses, multidisciplinary teams, essence of nursing

The aim of this article is to help nurses around the world understand Israel's new nursing reality. Nursing in Israel is in the process of making important decisions regarding the role of registered nurses (RNs). In response to the many changes occurring in the Israeli healthcare system, a number of current issues are being debated. These issues include the financing of human and material resources, educational opportunities for nurses, changing healthcare roles, and use of technology to provide optimum healthcare today and for the future. The essence of each of these discussions will be presented below.

Israel's Shifting Reality

Since its inception in 1948 the Israeli government has been perceived being as responsible for shaping the healthcare system and providing healthcare services to the population. Healthcare is considered a basic right of all citizens. Over the years the government has established hospitals and community-based clinics and has been perceived by the public as seeking to advance the greater good. In addition, the government has been almost exclusively responsible for nursing education. However, in the 1980's, a significant healthcare crisis in Israel began to change this state of affairs. Manifestations of this crisis included a large deficit of the major sick fund (Clalit Health Maintenance Organization) and a lengthy strike held by physicians and nurses in protest of their unsatisfactory employment conditions and salaries.

Consequently, the Netanyahu Commission, a governmental inquiry commission headed by a former Supreme Court Justice, was appointed in 1988. The commission proposed a general reform of the healthcare system and submitted three main recommendations:

* The passage of a national health insurance law

* The transformation of government-owned and health-fund-owned hospitals into economic corporations (trusts)

* The changing of the Ministry of Health focus from providing healthcare services and health education to * determining and supervising policy and standards ( Ministry of Health, 2003 )

The passage of the National Health Insurance Law, which was enacted in 1994, was the only significant recommendation implemented as a result of the commission's deliberations. The rest of its recommendations have been rejected by the various Health Ministers over the years (Rosen & Bin-Nun, 2006).

Israel's healthcare system is undergoing constant change in ways similar to healthcare systems in developed Western countries. Current patients are becoming more sophisticated and adopting approaches characterized by 'informed consumerism.' They are influenced by the media, particularly electronic media, including the Internet. …

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