The Invisible Work and its Value of Outpatient Nurses: A Case Study of an Internal Medicine Clinic in Fukuoka, Japan
Authors: Yaeko Kawaguchi, Yasunobu Ito
Abstract: In recent years, the environment surrounding medical care in Japan has been changing drastically with the development and sophistication of medical care and the declining birthrate and aging of the population. In response to the changes in medical care, nurses are now required to provide high quality direct care to patients with various diseases and living environments. For this reason, work that does not involve patients, such as clerical work, has been regarded as less valuable as a nurse’s job. However, in practice, many of the nurses’ jobs do not involve patients. These jobs are not valued by society and the nursing community, making them “invisible”. In order to visualize the nurses' work based on facts, it is necessary to clarify the invisible work of nurses and its value. Until now, there have been a few ethnographic studies that have attempted to reveal the invisible work of Japanese nurses. The purpose of this paper is to clarify the invisible work of outpatient nurses and what their value is through a case study of an internal medicine clinic in Japan. As a result of the study, it was found that outpatient nurses not only assist with medical treatment, which is defined by law as nurses’ work, but they play an important role in the functioning of outpatient clinics by performing other duties. This is where the value of the invisible work performed by outpatient nurses is thought to exist.
Keywords: outpatient generalist nurses, value, ethnography
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