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Etsuko Shindo, Associate Professor, Faculty of Nursing and Medical Care

Seeds of inquiry into nursing chronic diseases

Every year, four to five fourth-year students participate in Shindo Project I and II to understand the diversity of people who live with diseases and to explore nursing care to suit their needs.

Assoc. Prof. Etsuko Shindo and students

I conduct research on the life challenges and state of support for cancer patients who undergo long-term medical treatment, as well as improving the quality of care and the know-how of the nurses who support them.
According to the World Health Organization, 60% of the world’s deaths are caused by chronic diseases; from this fact, we can say that chronic diseases are now a global and grave health issue.

Chronic and long-term diseases and disorders are wide-ranging, and include such diseases as cancer, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, cerebral vascular disorder, diabetes, and chronic pain. Depending on the characteristics of the disease and method of treatment, things may look quite different. Also, being long-term means that patients have to deal with fluctuations in health conditions, which has a large impact on their lives. Each patient who lives with a disease has his/her own way of living and coping with the disease.

It becomes important to identify with the experiences of the patient, the main subject of care, and the patient’s family and think together with them about treatment. That is, to support their lifestyle and treatment decisions, to think together about ways to relieve physical and emotional pain and ways to avoid complicating factors that lurk in their lives. We want to aid in creating an optimum health condition which balances the patient’s life and their treatment despite fluctuations in chronic health problems.

Students involved in this project deepen their understanding of these matters by responding to tangible and intangible messages they receive from people they meet during practicums. They try to seek out what can be done from the aspect of nursing in order to maintain balance in patients’ lives and treatments. Students select project themes based on problem awareness and grapple with the role of the nurse as they improve their direct understanding of sufferers through practicums, attendance at patients’ associations, and reading academic literature and patients’ journals. Students work hard attending lectures, taking practicum, preparing for the national exam, and participating in club activities. When I feel their passion to study long-term nursing in the project, I myself gain inspiration from them, and truly feel a lot of hope for the future of my students.

Student's Voice
Rie Saito, Fourth-year Student,
Faculty of Nursing and Medical Care

Learning about living with a disease

In Prof. Etsuko Shindo’s project, we deal daily with the issues of what it is like to live with a disease, and what kind of support is possible, and, as nursing students, how we can contribute to the science of nursing patients with chronic diseases based on our experience in practicums. We take the initiative in studying under the helpful guidance of our professor.
As for myself, I conduct research on people with inflammatory bowel disease who have to follow a restrictive diet on a daily basis. The process of selecting something that interested me in practicums or in everyday life and developing it into a research theme was tougher than I imagined, but I feel that what I think about and learn in this project will become the foundation for my career as a clinical nurse in the future.

*This article appeared in the 2013 winter edition (No.277) of “Juku.”
*Position titles, etc., are those at the time of publishing.