Be strictly truthful, conscientious, patient, tolerant, calm in self-evaluation, with balanced judgment and great strength.” – Henrietta Szold, from her elocution to the first graduating class of nurses in 1921


Israel Ministry of Health Excellence Award for Nursing

Echoing a worldwide challenge, Israel faces a shortage of nurses. Over 100 years after its founding, Israel’s oldest and most prestigious Henrietta Szold Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Nursing scales up to train more nurses while encouraging students to pursue advanced study tracks, with the objective of injecting more nurses with PhDs into the workforce.

Mahmoud Khateb was one of the first five students to graduate with a Hadassah PhD in nursing this past year. Working full-time throughout his PhD studies while raising a family, it took Khateb 14 years from the start of his BSN to the completion of his doctorate — a degree very few nurses in Israel hold. In the US, fewer than 1% of nurses hold PhDs in their profession.

Dr. Rely Alon, Director, Division of Nursing and Health Professions at Hadassah Medical Organization

Hadassah is home to the leading Nursing School in the Middle East and the only school in the region to offer graduate degrees in Nursing. “There is a critical need for nurses with MSN and PhD degrees who will become lecturers, raising the academic level of nursing education while training nurses to keep up with the constantly evolving demands of medical science and technology,” explained Dr. Sarit Shimony-Kanat, past Director of the Henrietta Szold Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Nursing. “Our intake has increased by 130% in the last year; the number of nursing applicants has increased dramatically, but there is still a national shortage of nurses.”

“Our mission is to constantly strive for excellence in nursing and healthcare through innovation, inclusion, and compassion,” affirmed Dr. Rely Alon, Director of Division of Nursing and Health Professions at Hadassah Medical Organization.

Vision for the Future

Members of the first Achoteinu graduating class, of 2021

A state-of-the-art 170-seat smart auditorium is nearing completion and will provide much-needed space (*update: in the meantime, the auditorium has been finished and handed over for use to the Nursing School). The dream remains that one day, the school of nursing will once again have its own building – a facility that will serve as a national center of excellence and home for the Hadassah community of nurses – the heart and soul of the hospital. In addition, realistic training mannikins and immersive Virtual Reality experiential learning and simulation labs are urgently needed to train the nurses of tomorrow.

Nursing was first recognized as a profession in Israel in 1918 when Hadassah opened a nursing school. Many of the first 22 graduates of the Henrietta Szold School of Nursing laid the foundations of the nursing profession in Israel. A century later, the School of Nursing celebrates the first graduating class of the Achoteinu (“our sister”) Program – an exemplary initiative allowing Israelis from underprivileged Ethiopian communities to obtain full scholarships, housing, a living stipend, and mentoring at the country’s leading school of nursing.

Main photo caption: students of the nursing school while their learning classes

This article was originally published in the Hadassah International 2021 Year in Review which you can check out HERE.


First graduating class with Henrietta Szold (c), 1921
Dr. Rely Alon with some of the nursing team she is coordinating at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital