The Role of Japanese Public Health Nurses' Activities As Post-Disaster Assistance

Friday, July 18, 2014: 4:00 PM
Room: Booth 48
Oral Presentation
Yuki ITAKURA , Sociology, Tohoku University, Sendai-city Miyagi-pref., Japan
This paper will examine about the construction of disaster resilient local community based on multiple social networks through the cases of public health nurse activity in the tsunami devastated area.

The questions of this paper are 1) why and how the professional ability of public health nurse are efficient at the post-disaster time and 2) how it is different from volunteer activities such as non-specialized NPOs or neighborhood disaster prevent associations at the community base.

This paper is based mainly on the findings of my own interview with public health nurses of Ohtsuchi-town which located in south of Iwate prefecture and detailed survey on the public health reports about the disaster assistance. The findings are that 1) their activities are focusing on informal care and long-term support for community re-construction as well as official nursing services in the shelter right after the disaster , 2) their professional skills were especially effective in case they conducted their research about the health status for all surviving citizens in the area by using nationwide public health nurse human-resource network. And 3) they can support efficiently the destroyed local public office because they have been long working there and knowing in detail about clients and their community. It is important significantly different from other non-professionalized volunteers that 4) they have professional skills and a long year experiences of local community based caring and they have a variety of wide networks all over Japan.

I will discuss about collaboration of public health services with other local institutions, NPOs, volunteers and organizations for disaster vulnerable people such as elderly women. Japanese public health nurse activities is one of the best examples of post-disaster assistance system which has been uniquely rooted in local communities culturally and historically.