The Experiences of Healthcare Workers Following the Fukushima Disaster
Individual impacts include disruptions in professional trajectory, both during the immediate crisis and longer-term (for example, through unexpectedly moving between institutions). For doctors, in particular, long-term impacts also include conscious shifts in professional focus, for example through a shift in speciality (e.g. interest in disaster medicine, or increasing focus on home care). At the institutional level, the destabilisation of the disaster has led to a reorganisation of work, for example in the rise of new work categories (e.g. around radiation testing) and in the restricting of work-roles to account for the loss of particular categories of staff.
Overall, the paper draws upon both medical sociology and the sociology of work to reflect upon the effect of the disaster on the health workers and institutions of Minamisoma, demonstrating the persistent and wide-ranging impact of the disaster on the practice of healthcare.