OBJECTIVE: This study described public health nurses' (PHNs) experiences in caring for people in their communities during the recovery stage of the Fukushima nuclear accident.
DESIGN AND SAMPLE: Forty-four PHNs responded to an open-ended questionnaire administered before a radiation protection workshop and participated in interviews after the workshop. Data were qualitatively analyzed.
RESULTS: Two major themes were identified: (1) profound powerlessness and (2) compelling sense of mission. The participants cared for people driven by their compelling sense of mission, despite not having the correct information or sufficient knowledge. They spoke of being heart-broken and barely able to face the reality of the impact of the accident.
CONCLUSIONS: PHNs supported people because of a compelling sense of mission yet it was a great burden. Education about radiation and radiation protection for nursing students and PHNs, two-way communication between PHNs and radiation specialists, long-term support by specialists, and the opportunity for PHNs to share their feelings and experiences is necessary.
- Fukushima nuclear accident
- public health nurse
- qualitative research
- radiological protection culture
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health