Professor Dr. Hiroko Minami started her nursing career as a staff nurse, and then moved to assume a faculty position. With her experience, expertise and leadership, she was the first nurse appointed the President of a public independent college, College of Nursing and Art Science, Hyogo. At present, she has been, also, appointed the Vice President of The National University of Hyogo.
Professor Dr. Hiroko Minami has been served as member of numerous committees and councils in the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education which contributing to the development of policies relating to health and nursing education. At the international level, she has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Council of Nurses, and member of WHO Global Advisory group on Nursing/Midwifery. Currently, she is the President of Japanese Nurses Association.
Among the outstanding achievements of Professor Dr. Hiroko Minami was her effective establishment of the nurse volunteer network system assisting victims during the Hanshin – Awaji Earthquake, the 1995 national disaster that caused 6,432 deaths, 43,792 injured and immediate 512,882 houses destroyed. She successfully organized the volunteers nurses from various organizations throughout the country, which was fully in service within 6 days, to provide care at the site. She has synthesized her experience into scientific knowledge, which contributed to the development of disaster nursing as a discipline. Eight months after the earthquake, an international conference of Japan Academy of Nursing Science was held under her chairmanship, to disseminate the experience of disaster nursing to the rest of the world. She laid the concept of an ideal foundation of Japan Society of Disaster Nursing, which was established three years after the disaster.
Through her initiative, Professor Dr. Hiroko Minami and her team at College of Nursing and Art Science, Hyogo have developed a Nursing Research Center on the Development of Community Care, which incorporated disaster nursing as one area of concentration. This center received a huge five-year grant form the Ministry of Education, namely, “Grant for Center of Excellence for the 21 Century”. One of the center’s aims was to provide information and support of the disaster-preparedness and mitigation for people in general as well as the vulnerable people at the time of any disaster.
To improve the quality of nursing care, Professor Dr. Hiroko Minami has initiated distinguished nursing care delivery models in Japan, which have been made the major impacts on people’s health. Firstly, Health Post or Town Health-Care Room to provide a place and opportunity in which people can freely consult nurses about their mental and physical health. The advantage of this room was that people can consult or receive health education close to home in much more lightheartedly atmosphere than in hospitals and clinics. They also provided people with places and opportunity for communication and networking among community members. The main impact of this innovation was to promote self-care among people.
Secondly, the initiations of home palliative care in which nurses can assist the patients who wish to die at home. Culturally revealed that more than 90 percent of the Japanese people desires to die at home, yet no support system has been established. JNA, through Dr. Minami’s initiative has developed a project for the establishment of 9000 nursing stations for such purpose in Japan’s nation-wide communities. The project is now underway and up to present, 5000 stations have been successfully established of which 300 stations are operated by local nurses associations. To ensure the sustainable of the project, Professor Dr. Hiroko Minami helped the establishment of the Foundation for supporting visiting nurses who work for these stations.
Thirdly, the establishment and popularizing Certified Nurse Specialist and Certified Expert Nurse Credential System, in which nurse specialists, and nurse experts have been certified and effectively serve at major health care facilities in the country. In addition, many nurse specialist programs have been developed.
Professor Dr. Hiroko Minami has been dedicated herself for more than 30 years to the development and enhancement of the nursing education standard and the quality of nursing education programs resulted in the widely move of nursing education into university standard. She has contributed to the establishment of the first doctoral program of nursing science in Japan in 1988, and the first doctoral program in psychiatric and mental health nursing in 1997.
In addition, Professor Dr. Hiroko Mimani has seen the important of continuing education for the improvement of nursing practice. Under her leadership numerous short course trainings and seminars for nurses were organized, including the establishment of WHO Primary Health Care Collaborating Center at St. Luke College of Nursing as the information center, research and training center of primary care for health personnel development.
As the ICN Board of Directors, Professor Dr. Hiroko Minami has been successfully pushed forward important forum to enhance collaboration and networking nationally and internationally. The ICN Asia Workforce Forum for Asian Nurses Association initiated by Dr. Minami has provided opportunity for Asian nurses to work collaboratively to evaluate working condition and welfare for nurses, exchange information, and set the vision for the future. Recently, she has been a member of pioneer nurses forming the Alliance of Asian Nurses Association-AANA. aiming at strengthening the National Nurses Association in Asian region.
For all of her outstanding achievements to improve the quality of nursing profession including service, education and research bring benefits to the people of Japan and have been recognized at both the national and international levels.
Professor Dr. Hiroko Minami truly deserves the honor of being conferred with the Princess Sinagarindra Award for the year B.E. 2547 (A.D.2004)