Denise Walsh, PhD
“A narrative analysis of the stories of nurses working in Liberia pre, during and post civil war”
The country of Liberia experienced civil war for 14 years (1989-2003). This research analyzes the experiences of Liberian nurses who were working during the five years prior to war, the 14 years during civil war, and the five year rebuilding period post war, and how these experiences were influenced by the social and political environment of the country. Through the methodology of narrative inquiry four nurses living in Liberia were interviewed and their stories were linked with the social change processes that were occurring during this time period in Liberian history. Stories were kept intact and sequences were preserved and resulted in a metastory of the lives of nurses in Liberia during this time. The ability of nurses to adequately care for patients prior to conflict, during civil unrest and the subsequent rebuilding period is dependent upon the strength of the infrastructure of the country. The narratives of the nurses describe in detail the role nurses held before war, and their ability to survive during the most challenging situations. The stories add to the growing history of the nursing profession and attempt to bridge the gap in understanding the role of nurses during the stresses of war. It invites further research in the area of nursing education and the ability of nurses to adapt to situations, and the implications for nursing practice pertaining to the delivery of basic levels of service. The ability to adapt is important as nurses respond to disaster and conflict situations within their countries and throughout the world. The Liberian nurses’ research describes the frustration of nurses who were faced with a lack of supplies, equipment and wages and the overwhelming process it takes for a profession to rebuild itself after a long war.
Pictured above (from left to right): Dr. Barbara Jacobs, Denise Walsh PhD, Dr. Kathryn Hegedus, Dr. Cheryl Beck