A meta-ethnography of the acculturation and socialization experiences of migrant care workers

Ken H.M. Ho, Chung Lim Vico Chiang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To report a meta-ethnography of qualitative research studies exploring the acculturation and socialization experiences of migrant care workers. Background: Migrant care workers are increasingly participating in health and social care in developed countries. There is a need to understand this increasingly socioculturally diversified workforce. Data sources: A comprehensive search through 12 databases and a manual search of journals related to transculture for studies on socialization and acculturation experiences (published 1993-2013) was completed. The inclusion criteria were peer-reviewed studies on the acculturation or socialization experiences of migrant care workers published in English in any country, using a qualitative or mixed-methods approach. Design and Review methods: This meta-ethnography employed the seven-phase Noblit and Hare method with reciprocal translation, refutational synthesis and lines-of-argument to synthesize qualitative studies. Results: Three main themes were identified: (a) schema for the migration dream: optimism; (b) the reality of the migration dream: so close, yet so far; and (c) resilience: from chaos to order. A general framework of motivated psychosocial and behavioural adaptation was proposed. This meta-ethnography also revealed the vulnerabilities of migrant nurses in the process of acculturation and socialization. Conclusions: The general framework of behavioural and psychosocial adaptation revealed factors that impede and facilitate behavioural and psychosocial changes. Strategies to enrich external and internal resources should be targeted at encouraging multiculturalism and at improving the psychosocial resources of migrant care workers. It is suggested that research investigating the prominence of nursing vulnerabilities be conducted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-254
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


  • Acculturation
  • Internationally educated healthcare professionals
  • Meta-ethnography
  • Migrants
  • Qualitative research
  • Qualitative synthesis
  • Socialization
  • Transcultural nursing
  • Transcultural studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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