Autonomy, job satisfaction and professional self-image among nurses in the context of a physicians' strike

Ilana Shoham-Yakubovich, Sara Carmel, Lea Zwanger, Tsila Zaltcman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This paper tests the hypothesis that structural changes in nurses' work settings, which allow nurses to autonomously exercise their knowledge and skills will lead not only to an enhanced feeling of professional autonomy, but also to an improvement in their professional self-image and to an increase in job satisfaction. An opportunity to test this hypothesis arose when physicians in Israel went on a strike which lasted 116 days. Primary care (PC) clinics were completely abandoned by physicians, leaving nurses to operate them on their own, while in hospitals, nurses continued to work as usual under physicians' supervision. The study compares the effect of the strike on head nurses in the two sectors. Data were collected by means of self administered questionnaires. The findings indicate that during the strike, PC head nurses expanded their activities and responsibilities and consequently felt more professional autonomy and job satisfaction, as well as an improvement in professional self-image. Hospital head nurses experienced significantly less changes in their work situation and, as expected, less change in all work related attitudes. It is suggested that, when given the opportunity to define for themselves roles where they can use their experience, knowledge and skills, senior nurses stand up to the challenge and consequently are more satisfied and their professional self-image improves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1315-1320
Number of pages6
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1989


  • Israel
  • autonomy
  • hospitals
  • job satisfaction
  • nurses
  • physicians' strike
  • primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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