Minnesota Nursing magazine

Advancing the role of nurses in Taiwan

Miaofen Yen, PhD ’94, MS ’90, receives inaugural innovation award from the International Council of Nurses
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by: 
Brett Stursa

Miaofen Yen, PhD, RN, FAAN, began her career as a staff nurse in the ICU at a local hospital in Taiwan. Eventually, after a recommendation from a U.S. cardiologist she worked with at the hospital, she came to the University of Minnesota School of Nursing to earn a master’s degree. From there, she earned a PhD degree from the school in 1994. Now, she’s a faculty member at the National Cheng Kung University Department of Nursing, where her work focuses on advancing the role of nursing in Southeast Asia. Her efforts recently earned her the inaugural Kim Mo Im Policy Innovation and Impact Award from the International Council of Nurses, which cited her for her demonstrated policy innovation and impact. We asked Yen about the differences in nursing in the United States and Southeast Asia and how her time at the University of Minnesota inspired her to advance nurses’ role in Taiwan.

What was your role in establishing the International Advanced Program in Nursing at National Cheng Kung University?

I was charged with the initiation of the program and managed starting the program in 2012. I was appointed as the director of nursing at National Cheng Kung University from 2013 to 2016, so I managed the resources to evaluate the improvement of the program. My vision is to promote quality higher education in the Southeast Asia region so the focus of my work now is on growing the International Advanced Program in Nursing throughout the region.

Congrats on receiving the Inaugural Kim Mo Im Policy Innovation and Impact Award. What was your reaction to receiving honor?

To me, the award is an encouragement for continuing on my vision of improving nursing education in Southeast Asia. I am also working on establishing an alliance of nursing higher education in this region. The alliance may become a resource center for nursing education to support nursing schools, nursing faculty and students in response to their needs for future development.

How are advanced practice nurses affecting patient care in Taiwan and Southeast Asia?

The roles of advanced practice nurses include, but are not limited to, teachers (for nurses, nursing students and patients), researchers (for improving clinical care) and practitioners (in collaboration with professionals from other disciplines). By playing the roles, the optimal goal is to continuously improve quality of patient care, thus, promote health for all.

Is the role of a nurse different in Taiwan compared to the United States?

The role of nurses may not be different, however, the workload is a big difference. Nurses in Taiwan usually have many more patients in one shift when compared to nurses in the United States. Also, the nursing care in Taiwan is strongly focused on family-centered care.

How did your experience as a visiting scholar at the University of Minnesota in 2013 impact your professional development?

The leadership program at the University of Minnesota inspired my vision to focus on teaching graduate nursing students about leadership. Since being back home, I have obtained national funding for three research projects to improve the teaching of leadership among nursing students.

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Miaofen Yen

“The leadership program at the University of Minnesota inspired my vision to focus on teaching graduate nursing students about leadership.” – Miaofen Yen