An oral history of Japanese nursing: voices of five senior nurses who experienced nursing since the 1950s
The history of nursing cannot be considered separately from the history of women. In this study the public history of nursing and women was re-explored via the lived voices of five senior nurses in Japan. An oral history method using in-depth interviewing for data collection was used. Contemporary Japanese women's social position was constantly influenced by government policies from a historically androcentric society. Nursing, as a predominately female occupation, has also struggled with its position in society and in the hospital system. Data were categorised into five themes through the nurses' stories and analysed using feminist liberal theory. Findings from the current study showed that various elements of unequal opportunity to participate in society were an outcome of this history. Nursing in Japan appears to have been socialised without a relationship to feminism. Experiences of the participants in this study indicate a demand for the liberation of nurses as women. These participants wished nurses in Japan to focus on professionalism with an attitude which is independent of past androcentric policies and historical social inequities. With such an autonomous attitude, directions for nursing in Japan become constructive.