Document Type



This research investigated the experiences and aspirations of low-status immigrant healthcare workers in Massachusetts. Using snowball and convenience sampling, I conducted 50 interviews with immigrant Certified Nursing Assistants, Personal Care Assistants, and Home Health Aides about their daily work, compensation, and workplace culture and conditions. Massachusetts’ low-status healthcare positions are disproportionately filled by Caribbean and African female immigrants, so my sample was comprised of Haitian, Nigerian, and Cape Verdean women. Most had not worked in the healthcare sector in their native countries. Their experiences show how Caribbean and African immigrants get funneled toward particular low-skilled sectors of the labor market, how race and gender factor into employment options, and how immigrant laborers are treated by supervisors and clients. Participants most often noted issues of low wages, racism, and other forms of discrimination. Secondary themes were job instability, workplace injuries from lifting patients, employers’ rejection of their career qualifications from their home countries, lack of possibilities for advancement, and economic distress. This study enhances understanding of immigrants' significant contributions to the lives of the elderly and disabled for whom they provide care.



Thesis Comittee

Norma Anderson (Thesis Advisor)

Aseem Hasnain (Committee Member)

Imani Tafari-Ama,

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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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