A Revolutionary Academic Nursing Program for Ethiopian-Israelis

In a survey conducted in 2013 among Ethiopian-Israeli young adults, La’Ofek learned that 90% shared a dream: to become nurses so that they could provide care for people. What was preventing them from fulfilling their dreams?

  • The psychometric exam. Ethiopians generally score 20- 30% less than their Israeli peers on the psychometric.
  • Financial constraints. Fully half of the Ethiopian community lives under the poverty line.

Achotenu convinced the Hebrew University’s Henrietta Szold School of Nursing to accept students under specially developed alternative criteria. Not only was Achotenu able to present qualified students in spite of bypassing the psychometric exam, but with its comprehensive wrap-around services has scarcely suffered a drop-out rate.

Nachshonim

The Nachshonim program is an outgrowth of Achotenu. A pilot program, conducted in cooperation with the Hebrew University’s Department of Occupational Therapy (OT), accepted the first four students for its five-year academic track. Experts believe that the fall-out repercussions of the pandemic will result in a greater need for para-professionals.  As such, employment opportunities will be plentiful for Nachshonim graduates.

What Makes This Program Unique?

Education Towards Employment

Achotenu was developed to enable Ethiopian-Israeli young adults to gain a university education which leads to employment and full integration into Israeli society

Wrap-Around Services

Achotenu provides each student with comprehensive wrap-around services, including academic scholarships, living subsidies, dorms, study workshops, tutoring, laptops and individualized mentoring

Alternative Acceptance Criteria

Achotenu, in cooperation with other professional organizations developed alternative acceptance criteria with the approval of the Hebrew University, in lieu of the culturally-biased psychometric exam. The acceptance criteria evaluate potential students' soft skills and ability to develop the hard skills that are necessary for a successful nursing career

The Future

With the dearth of nurses — Israel needs to double the number of nurses — Achotenu graduates will easily be able to find work, break the ceiling of poverty and support their families with pride. They will be models for their families, community and Israeli society.

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