DegreePh.D. in Nursing ’18
I’m from Nanjing, China, and I did my undergraduate studies in nursing science. At first I was interested in the Master of Science in Global Health at Duke, but Dr. Bei Wu (my current mentor) suggested the PhD Program in Nursing. I’m also doing the Doctoral Certificate in Global Health.
This Bass Connections project is about dementia care needs among older adults who live in a community setting. I just finished phase II data collection in Shanghai. We want to look at older adults who have either mild cognitive impairment or dementia and see how they have been taken care of by their caregivers, what their living status is, what their health status is and what community services or other medical services are available. We also collected data from the caregivers to see their barriers and burdens while caring for the older adults. We will do both quantitative and qualitative data collection because sometimes numbers can’t tell the whole story.
I’ve been on this project team for a year and will continue into the second year. We have a large group meeting every month with faculty and we have a collaboration with Chinese university hospitals. Currently we have three undergrad students; one is majoring in economics and global health, another is pre-med and computer science and the third is computer science and statistics. It’s really a fascinating experience for me. I wouldn’t exactly say I’m mentoring them although I’m a graduate student and they’re undergrads—I see them as my colleagues. Because I have a nursing background and they’re from other disciplines, it’s really interesting because at first they didn’t know much about dementia care and I needed to explain it. Also they’re not familiar with the care setting in China, and from a cultural perspective I needed to explain. They also inspire me a lot. Tina Chen, one of our undergrad students, won first prize for data visualization using our research data.
For my dissertation I’m working to see the impact of migration and urbanization on Chinese older adults’ experiences, behaviors and health outcomes, with a specific focus on persons with diabetes. From a methodology perspective I feel like this project helped me see how to do research in another country with mixed methods.
For other nursing students considering Bass Connections, I’d say it’s something new and challenging because you need to work with undergrad students and with people outside the nursing field. It’s a really fascinating experience working with different people.