How to (Re)Define Nurses’ Professionalism: An Ethnographic Study of Outpatient Nurses in a Small Clinic in Japan

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Yaeko KawaguchiYasunobu Ito

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to identify the distinctive functions that outpatient nurses in Japanese clinics perform outside of direct patient care and its values. It will also describe how outpatient nurses in Japanese clinics perceive the value of their work and how their experiences and education influence their understanding. The study was conducted at an I-Clinic in Fukuoka, Japan; 25 Participant observations and interviews with four outpatient nurses at the I-Clinic were conducted between September 2021 and January 2023. The results of the study revealed the characteristics of outpatient nurses’ work in small Japanese clinics. The functions of outpatient nurses in Japanese clinics were (1) to coordinate the elements involved in the day-to-day care, (2) to harmonize relationships among staff throughout the organization, and (3) to harmonize relationships with medical personnel outside the organization. Through these functions, nurses were shown to contribute to quality health care services to the community. However, I-Clinic nurses did not fully understand the value of these functions. The value of nurses’ contribution to the organization is currently rarely explained in basic nursing education and in the education of new nurses after graduation, suggesting the need to (re)define professionalism, including the work nurses do for the organization and its value, and to apply it in nursing education.

Keywords: Nurses’ organizing work, Nursing education, Care trajectory management framework, Ethnography

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003118

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