Family is the target for nursing.
Family nursing is the study of practice by nurses whose goal is to support family health.
The target of nursing is the family. Families, like individuals, have a life course that includes birth, challenges of growth, and eventually aging out.
Nurses support families in a variety of situations, from developmental transitions to situational transitions due to illness, disaster, or accident. How do we understand the family in order to target the family as opposed to a single patient?
It is necessary to deepen our understanding from two perspectives: the ‘developing family’ and the ‘family as a system’.
By understanding the developmental issues of the family and paying attention to the depth of understanding and difference (gaps) among family members, we work on the family system (relationships among family members) to maximize the strength of the family, and aim for the health of the family as a whole. Through such care, we believe it is important to enhance the family’s ability to adapt (in other words, increase family’s resilience) to future crises.
Providing support for family crises from the family’s perspective
There have been many theories and models used in the family nursing process. Rather than being limited to only one such model or technique, we need to understand families in line with their diversity and practice family nursing research from a new perspective. Understanding the family value system, roles, forces, and family communication structure, we will assess the family and consider what kind of nursing care (intervention) is necessary.
The nurse’s role is to work with the family to promote growth within the family, interaction between the family and society, and to support the family so that they can lead their lives in the way they feel fit.
Family nursing emerged as an academic discipline in 1992, when it was established as a five-year endowed course at Chiba University’s School of Nursing, followed by the establishment of a family nursing course at the University of Tokyo. In the International Family Year of 1994, Japan Association for Research in Family Nursing was espabilished. The first academic conference was chaired by the first professor Kazuko Sugishita (University of Tokyo), and since then, the conference has been held annually. The academic journal “Journal of Family Nursing” is published regularly. In addition, the Master’s Program of the Graduate School of Nursing, which offers an educational course for professional nurses, has produced certified family support nurse specialists who have completed the required credits and are actively engaged in clinical practice.
In order for family nursing to continue to develop and contribute to the well-being of families, it is necessary to co-create family nursing practice, research, and education.