Clinical work experience of Korean immigrant nurses in U.S. hospitals

Kumsook Seo, Miyoung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the meaning of the experience of Korean immigrant nurses working in US hospitals. Methods: Purposive sampling yielded 15 Korean immigrant nurses who had more than one year of clinical experience in US hospitals. Data were collected from March to August 2012 through in-depth interviews and thematic analysis was conducted using van Manen’s hermeneutic phenomenological approach. Results: The findings were classified into eight themes: ‘struggling from staff at workplace being territorial to outsiders’, ‘feeling oppressed due to language barrier’, ‘accepting rational and horizontal relationships at work’, ‘staying alert in the environment where lawsuits are rife’, ‘feeling a sense of stability from the social system that values human dignity’, ‘maintaining self-confidence from prominent nursing practices and senior Korean nurses’ professional reputation’, ‘performing essential comprehensive nursing care’, ‘promoting self-development to be equipped with professionalism.’ Conclusion: The findings indicate that the Korean immigrant nurses were able to excel in their workplace when their clinical experience at US hospitals was combined with the lived space in US politics and environment, lived time of patience, lived body to be alert, and lived others with multi cultural characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-248
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Korean Academy of Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Korean Society of Nursing Science.


  • Immigrants
  • Language barriers
  • Nurses
  • Qualitative research


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