Messages from Alumni and Students
Satomi Minamida ’** BS
Ever since my high school days, I had a vague curiosity in international cooperation. While studying at the university, this idea of international cooperation developed into a definite interest. At that time, my university was supporting some JICA Health Project, and I was given the opportunity to attend lectures of faculty members and also meet other people interested in international cooperation. Until that time, I did think of the idea of working for some type of organisation supporting international cooperation, but that was something that seemed surreal to me. Due to this university experience, however, I began thinking about how to connect international cooperation and nursing particularly to my own life and how to become more involved in such efforts in the future.
After graduating from the University, I worked for six years as a nurse in Japan. Subsequently, I went to Paraguay and did some volunteer work for two years at a hospital. Because I did not have a Paraguayan nursing licence, I was not allowed to practise as a medical professional there. I was primarily helping my colleagues and providing “health guidance” to patients and residents. In Paraguay, an increase in lifestyle-related diseases has become a matter of concern, and improving dietary and exercising habits is considered highly critical. For this reason, it was important to improve patients’ knowledge about good health and urge them to develop good habits to realize it.
With help from my colleague, I continued to offer health guidance at some town hall meetings and patient gatherings in Paraguay. I also prepared some documents as part of my efforts in providing people with health guidance, but I could not always use adequate words while writing due to the language barrier. Some people in that country cannot read, so I tried to incorporate drawings and pictures into the documents I prepared. I discovered that the relevant visual representations were particularly useful. While studying at the University, I was not very good at preparing visual representations, so I was very happy when I was able to help people by making such useful diagrams for lectures and workshops. I noticed that people often show little interest in one-sided explanations, so I tried to conduct my lectures in a more interactive way. I utilized and executed my group work experiences from University days. I strongly believe that not only medical knowledge but also communication and interpersonal skills that I developed at the University have helped me immensely during my abroad experience of two years.
Things I Learned at University Prove Useful in Clinical Settings
Junko Yamada ’16 BS
Today, I work at a medical emergency center ward. It is the first ward that patients come to after they are brought by ambulances, and each day I see patients with different generational backgrounds, different personalities, and different problems. In order to take care of so many different patients every day, it is vital that I establish a relationship of trust with each patient as quickly as possible. It was after I first entered clinical settings that I learned the Humanitude communication techniques, and I learned that building this relationship of trust is helpful in patients’ recovery.
In one particular case, I was working with a heart failure patient. The patient was very negative in conversations about their medical treatment life, saying things like “shut up, don’t touch me.” However, by talking about where they were from, and asking about what foods they like, the patient gradually warmed up to me in conversation, telling me about their preferences and their feelings about their medical issues, which allowed me to check their body water and urine levels in a way that they were comfortable with. When I entered clinical settings, I found more and more that it is crucial to build relationships of trust. Unless you bear this in mind and create opportunities for communication, you will only have a formal and relatively distant relationship with your patients. To learn to communicate effectively, I feel that it is vital to create opportunities to interact with many other people during your time as a student. For me in particular, joining Futaba, the disaster-related volunteer club, served as a chance to interact with many different people. At Futaba, not only did we get to see the conditions on the ground in areas struck by disasters, but we also had the opportunity to talk with people young and old — I believe that this taught me firsthand how to talk with people to put them at ease, how to make people smile, and other important interpersonal communication techniques. As a student, you have a lot of freedom in how to spend your time, so it is important to use that time as an investment in yourself as a person.
I’m working to help spread the Humanitude communication techniques in clinical settings, so by all means, look into it for yourself!
Hiroki Yamashita ’20 BS
Ishikawa Prefectural Nursing University is a seaside institute focused on a single course of study. Its compact campus makes it the perfect place for a truly focused nursing education.
The majority of the students enrolled here are working to become registered nurses or public health nurses. To that end, students work hard alongside one another in a challenging environment conducive to practical training and studying through lectures. Due to the large number of compulsory credits each year, students’ schedules are effectively pre-established with only a small degree of flexibility, giving school life a feel, to some, like an extension of high school. This may lead some to find the lifestyle a bit more strenuous than that experienced by their friends at schools with more flexible scheduling. On the other hand, this means that goals to be met each year are clearly established, allowing students to focus their studies.
One advantage of Ishikawa Prefectural Nursing University is the sense of close connection students feel with their fellow students and their instructors. Nearly all of the students attend the same lectures, and with plenty of group assignments and practical training, students naturally come to feel at ease with one another. With roughly eighty students arriving each year, instructors are also able to learn students’ names, so students can look forward to their support and counseling.
The compact campus minimizes time spent in transit from one part of the campus to another. The campus’s ample parking is located near the campus buildings, making it convenient for students who commute by car. The seaside location offers students a beautiful and peaceful environment for their campus lifestyles.
In addition to their studies, many students enjoy joining on-campus social groups to make their student lives more fun. Student groups run the gamut from sports like softball and basketball to more cultural pursuits like piano or tea ceremony, from local interaction and international cultural exchange to disaster volunteer efforts. Recently, a group of new students has established a drama club. I’m in some sports clubs and one of the local interaction clubs, but I’m sure that they’re all a lot of fun. The clubs aren’t especially strict, so you can join whichever ones you’re interested in, and it’s fine to only come on days when you’re free.
Ishikawa Prefectural Nursing University makes the perfect place to study nursing in a calm and relaxing environment.
Mai Miyata ’20 BS
Ishikawa Prefectural Nursing University was established in 2000, and is entering its sixteenth year. We spend our days studying to become professional nurses, at this gorgeous campus surrounded with natural beauty.
The school’s focus on a single course of study means that, while there are relatively few students, the students are that much closer to one another, for a fun and positive student lifestyle. Students also get to feel close to the friendly and enthusiastic teachers, and we learn new knowledge and techniques every day.
After starting school in spring, living alone for the first time as a college student, I found that the first few months passed in the blink of an eye.
During the first semester of my first year, I experienced field training as one part of my practical training in nursing. For field training, students select their own theme, and visit locations where people of various health levels live, which helps to broaden our social views and deepen our understanding of people. This practical training helped me realize that we need to always consider things from other points of view, and taught me how crucial it is for nurses to take others’ feelings into account in all of our work.
The teachers also helped me really understand the extreme importance of understanding the basis of the knowledge and techniques used in nursing specialties. I hope to one day become a professional nurse who always remembers to ask “Why is that the case?” and “Why do we do things this way?” in my work.
The International Nursing Practicum is a nursing study and training program held in summer in the United States, where students study and train at the University of Washington and other institutions. In addition to helping students learn more about the state of nursing worldwide and develop a better understanding of its background, it also serves to help improve students’ linguistic abilities. In addition to learning about the medical world overseas, I also want a chance to improve my English, so I would really like to participate in this program.
As for extracurricular activities, there are plenty of social clubs, with a great variety. Many students belong to these clubs, and they can help make student life even more fulfilling.
After graduating from Ishikawa Prefectural Nursing University, we have many options available to us, from working as registered nurses or public health nurses to continuing our studies. Each of us is working toward accomplishing our own goals.