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On being a nurse - Chinese nurses’ lives as perceived by their spouses

McDonald, T., Zhang Yan., Zhang Zhen-Xiang, Yang Xiao, & Bie Wen Qian, 2015

ICN Conference, Seoul, Republic of Korea


Background: The pressure under which nurses practice internationally is well-known and in China, as elsewhere, nurses draw support from their families and especially spouses to relieve their working stress and anxiety. This account of nurses’ spouses in China provides scholars in all countries an opportunity to understand the real life and work status of nurses, the hurdles that Chinese nurse administrators face in pursuing quality development and professional acknowledgement of nursing.

Objective: To describe nurses’ husbands understanding of their wives' daily work within the traditional Chinese environment, and their expectations of these women as nurses and as wives; and to provide targeted strategies related to planned national nursing reforms

Methods: This qualitative, evaluative inquiry involving semi-structured, face-to-face interviews of 22 Chinese nurses’ husbands provided an opportunity to obtain rich contextual and relational data from participants and to gain insights and understanding of their perceptions. Content analysis of the data extracted from interview transcripts produced the main themes.

Results: The five major themes depict the life experience and working status of nurses in China, as seen by their spouses, as (1) busy (2) tired (3) struggling to be understood (4) industrious, and (5) tolerant.

Conclusions: Contemporary Chinese nurses inherit traditional Chinese cultural characteristics of being strong in spirit, optimistic, and toughness and these traits are perceived and valued by their spouses. Nurse Managers should give due attention to incorporate humanistic concern for nurses and their families as part of proposed reforms.

Implications for nursing and health policy: Care is required in work redesign and system reforms affecting nursing practice to ensure that nursing resources are legitimately distributed, family-friendly workplaces acknowledging the dual roles of nurses with families and supporting them in their efforts to develop professionally and maintain harmonious family relationships.

CITATION Yan, Y., McDonald, T. & Zheng, X. Z. (2015) On Being A Nurse - Chinese nurses’ lives as perceived by their spouses. International Council of Nurses Conference and CNR, Seoul, Republic of Korea 19-23 June.


Last updated 18/11/2019
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