(Re)constructing the meaning of work: experiences of internationally trained female physicians who immigrate to Canada

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Matejicek, Amanda J.
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University of Guelph

People often derive a great deal of meaning from their work (Brief & Nord, 1990; Wrzesniewski, 2003) and come to define themselves by what they do for a living (Becker, 1970). Consequently, when people immigrate and are unable to resume their occupation of choice or profession by training, they are forced, to some extent, to redefine the meaning of work in their lives and who they are as a productive member of society. Aycan and Berry (1996) found that employment difficulties negatively impact the physical and psychological well being of immigrants. However, the complex process of meaning reconstruction that immigrants go through following loss of profession and the implications this has on immigrants' professional identities is less well understood. My dissertation examines how internationally trained female physicians reconstruct the meaning of work and their professional identity in response to loss of profession following immigration to Canada. Comparative narrative analyses were conducted on interviews with two samples of internationally trained female physicians who had been in Canada for more than two years; eight women who were pursuing medical licensure and eight women who were not pursuing licensure.

Femal physicians, Immigrate, Canada, Loss of profession, Identity