Flora Zih-Yong, a PhD student at Edinburgh University, recently received the QNIS postgraduate award. She described it as a “great honour” and said that as a first-year PhD student exploring community and family nursing, the award is a “great encouragement to and affirmation of” her study.
Here she talks about her journey to community nursing and plans for the future.
“My research study focuses on assessing the discharge planning in place for patients suffering from chronic illness. This research seeks to understand how the strengths and limitations of nurse-led discharge planning influences community care from the perspective of stroke patients and family caregivers. Furthermore, it also aims to determine the extent to which the discharge planning programme can satisfy the healthcare needs of post-stroke patients over time and explain the configuration of the chronic illness trajectory framework (Corbin and Strauss, 1991).
While working as a clinical nurse in a neurological ward, mainly taking care of patients who were hospitalised due to a stroke occurrence or stroke-related complications, I realised the importance of continuing care in the community after discharge. The occurrence of a stroke is a sudden and unexpected event that does not allow the family to plan or rehearse their action response in advance. The family needs to undergo an adaptive process towards a new lifestyle and perform home care skill preparation. During the journey of my PhD, I further realised that various socio-structural concerns, such as demographic trends and family structure transformation, have always existed and constantly changed over time in the community, and that it can result in significant family disequilibrium.
Given the challenges inherent in the current structure of family and community healthcare, discharge planning can assume the task of linking hospital care with the services and resources available in the community. The two common theoretical perspectives concerning family health nursing reflect the complementary relationship between family and community and how inseparable these two clients are. One perspective espouses the view that the household is the unit of care and the community is the overarching context, whereas the other focusses on the community as a client and views the family as a subunit (Kaakinen et al., 2014). My journey of studying community healthcare nursing has shown me that the health of individuals is intertwined with the health of their families and the health levels of the community.
Although the major focus of community health nursing is on health promotion and disease prevention, I also hope to apply my research findings along with the concepts of community nursing to various other phases of chronic illness trajectory. Winning the award from the QNIS not only helps reinforce the direction of my research, it also further provides more motivation to continue and extend my work.”