Meet our Member: Chengjingzhi Si

Chengjingzhi Si

Chengjingzhi Si is a PhD student within the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Flinders University and is a student member of RePaDD. We spoke with Chengjingzhi to learn more about her journey to starting a PhD, what she’s working on and a little about her life outside of research.

What is your professional background prior to starting a higher degree by research?

Before embarking on my higher degree by research, I have worked in various community health roles as a social worker, predominantly in cancer care and community palliative care in Australia. Over the years, I gained valuable experience working with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, particularly the local Chinese community, leveraging my cultural background and language skills. This hands-on experience provided me with valuable opportunities and deep insights into the unique needs and challenges faced by this community.

My professional journey began with a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese linguistics and education, laying the foundation for my passion for working with people through a linguistic and cultural lens. Furthering my studies with a Master of Social Work equipped me with the necessary knowledge and skills to support individuals and families in need, sparking my interest in and passion for health equity and improving community health outcomes. After a few years of working and studying healthcare management, I became inspired to delve deeper into understanding the connections among cultural factors, health equity and disparities, ultimately leading me to pursue a PhD.

What is your main research area and why did it pique your interest?

My research focuses on the impacts of traditional Chinese cultures on the Chinese-speaking diaspora in Australia in engaging with palliative care support services. Born and raised in Guangdong Province, mainland China, I was fortunate to acquire both Chinese Mandarin and Cantonese. Growing up immersed in Chinese culture, I developed a fundamental understanding and appreciation for the values, beliefs and practices deeply rooted in this community. After moving to Australia in 2014, my cultural background and language skills enabled me to work closely with the local Chinese community. Witnessing their challenges in accessing services motivated me to explore ways to hear more of their voices and to improve their experiences and healthcare outcomes.

These experiences, combined with my academic background, led me to question how cultural factors influence the engagement and decision-making processes in palliative care. This curiosity drives my research focus, aiming to develop culturally sensitive care models that align with the values and needs of the Chinese-speaking diaspora community.

How do you envision your research will help to improve palliative and end-of-life care?

By gaining a deeper understanding of this particular community, I aim to develop strategies that reflect the values, experiences and perspectives of this specific cohort, thereby better supporting our service provision and enhancing the healthcare system. My research employs qualitative methodologies, including ethnographic approaches and interviews, to explore the lived experiences of this community. The goal is to understand the barriers and facilitators in accessing palliative care services and to develop culturally sensitive care models that align with their needs.

My research also aims to collaborate with healthcare providers to implement more effective communication and support strategies, leading to better overall healthcare outcomes. Ultimately, bridging the gap between healthcare services and the cultural needs of the community will foster a more inclusive and effective palliative care system, moving us closer to achieving health equity.

What have been the highlights of your research journey so far?

As I am at the early stages of my research journey, the highlights so far have included the invaluable support and insights from my supervisory team and researchers at Flinders. Engaging in discussions and receiving guidance from experts in the field through the Research Centre for Palliative Care, Death, and Dying (RePaDD) has enriched my academic experience and provided me with diverse perspectives on my research topic. This journey has been both motivating and inspiring, encouraging me to continue reflecting, exploring and addressing the challenges faced by the community in palliative care.

I am also very excited about the prospect of developing further connections with the community and hearing their stories and experiences. This engagement will allow me to understand and reflect their perspectives in my research better, ultimately contributing to the field.

Why did you decide to pursue a higher degree by research with Flinders?

I chose to pursue a higher degree by research with Flinders because of its strong standing in palliative care research and nursing, particularly through RePaDD. I resonate deeply with RePaDD’s mission to make a difference in end-of-life care by addressing the issues and challenges experienced by people living with life-limiting illnesses, their carers and the healthcare professionals supporting them. The university’s commitment to fostering a supportive and innovative research environment was also a key factor in my decision. Additionally, the chance to learn from and work with leading experts in the field and stay at the forefront of the latest research advancements has been pivotal in enriching my academic and professional growth.

Outside of research, how do you like to spend your spare time?

Outside of research, I enjoy music, reading, arts, meditation and photography. I am also passionate about engaging in activities related to my profession, charity work and issues concerning palliative and end-of-life care. I love spending time in nature, whether it’s bushwalking, hiking or simply listening to the sounds of the environment, that brings me calm and keeps me grounded and inspired. I also enjoy travelling to different countries and exploring new lands to experience diverse cultures and customs.

Chengjingzhi Si
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Death and dying across the community Meet our Members Research

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