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Sirikul Karuncharernpanit

PhD candidate
Faculty of Computing, Health & Science

Research has a powerful voice

How I became a researcher

My research journey started whilst I was studying for a Master’s degree in nursing. My inspiration to become a researcher came from a variety of sources in the university, from learning together with experts and experienced researchers, as well as with novices. I was also motivated by the shortage of researchers in my workplace in Thailand and my recognition of research as a powerful voice.

Personal interests inspired me to research the nursing of cancer patients for the Master’s degree and I gained many skills while doing that research. Three years later, I again had to choose an area of interest and because of the shortage of researchers in Thailand, I taught undergraduate students to do their own research. This research work developed into a study of some major challenges facing Thai society in the next two decades, namely ageing and more specifically, dementia care.

I intend to improve nursing care for elderly in Thailand by integrating practice and research. I believe that an improvement in evidence-based nursing practice and research will provide policy-makers with a clearer picture of what has to be done in the future and better recommendations on how to greatly improve the quality of life for the elderly.

How it has impacted your life

For me, becoming a researcher resulted in many positive changes. For example, through undertaking research, I not only gained more knowledge and expanded my networking, but also shared my own experiences with others. Such changes improve the unique profession of nursing and also assist collaboration with other professionals back in Thailand.

Research involvement

I have been involved in many research projects related to nursing cancer patients and caring for the elderly in Thailand for some ten years. I have supervised students using Pender’s Health Promotion Model to do research projects about the elderly in a community setting and in an aged-care home in the central part of Thailand. All those studies were quantitative.

Currently, I am a PhD candidate in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Postgraduate Medicine at ECU, using both qualitative and quantitative research methods to look at the effect of an exercise program for people with dementia in Thailand. During my PhD journey, I have learnt many more research skills and acquired more knowledge relating to dementia care.

Having recognised how fruitful research skills and knowledge have been in my own life, I do plan to continue my research work.

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