This study aimed to understand the experiences of married North Korean women’s child-rearing, working lives, and their home and work environment in depth.
This study adopted van Manen’s hermeneutic phenomenological method to qualitatively analyze data. The participants were 8 married North Korean women defectors. Data were collected through in-depth interviews and observations from July 4 to August 20, 2018.
Nine essential themes emerged: more personal challenges after overcoming a life-threatening crisis; hopes of firmly settling in this land; the wound from the north, which chased them here; a body that becomes stronger through hardship; being stuck in a past full of anxiety and pain; the present is full of hope; hope for the future; sense of alienation from coworkers that cannot be overcome; and sense of power to endure an exhausting work life.
This study provided a broader understanding of the life and experiences of married women from North Korea. It highlights the need for nurses to recognize their importance in nursing care. The study also suggests that academic and practical approaches for nursing, and basic data for a nursing intervention for married women from North Korea be provided. The study findings can be used as a basis for preparing a national policy that will help North Korean defectors to find employment and gain stability.

© 2020 Korean Society of Nursing Science.