Investigating Nursing Experiences in Korean Long-Term Care

photo portrait of visiting scholar Ga Eon LeeProfessor Ga Eon Lee has joined the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing as a visiting scholar. A professor of nursing at Dong-A University in Busan, Republic of Korea, Lee focuses her research on the experiences of nurses in the delivery of long-term care. She seeks to understand what nursing staff experience in long-term care hospitals. Ultimately, she hopes to drive improvements so that elderly individuals, their families, and nurses are more satisfied with the long-term care system.

“Korean society is changing, and children are less able and sometimes less interested in caring for aging family members,” she says, “but the Korean healthcare system has not kept up and does not always adequately fill the gaps. The result is that individuals and their families are sometimes dissatisfied with the care they receive. The nurses, too, may become frustrated that they are unable to meet the needs of their patients and often feel professionally dissatisfied.”

While at UW–Madison, Lee will work with Dr. Barbara Bowers, associate dean for research and sponsored programs at the School of Nursing, to analyze using qualitative research methods data she collected from 17 long-term care hospital nurses in Korea. Dr. Bowers is an international leader in qualitative research methods and an expert in American long-term nursing care. Lee will work closely with Dr. Bowers during her six-month stay in Madison, which ends in July.

Ultimately, her hope is to identify ways to support nurses and drive changes in the Korean long-term care system so that nurses are better positioned to promote quality of life among patients in long-term care hospitals.