Health Care Experiences of Korean Women Divers (Jeju Haenyeos)

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Abstract

Jeju haenyeos who enter the sea without equipment to collect seafood while holding their breath have a unique culture; however, studies of their health are limited. This study, using an ethnographic approach, explores how Jeju haenyeos have managed and maintained their health. Snowball sampling yielded 15 participants between July and October 2016. We collected data through participant observation and in-depth interviews and conducted Spradley’s research sequence. The main theme of the health-management approach of these women was “a life of listening to the body and mind, controlling greed, and adjusting work for safe diving.” However, Jeju haenyeos used preventive drugs and excessive doses of other drugs and lacked an understanding of the ways diverse drugs potentially interact. These findings suggest that community nurses should be cautious and should attempt to educate these patients.

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