Summer 2021 Online Training with American Nurses

Summer 2021 Online Training with American Nurses

Four students (two second-year and two fourth-year) participated in a six-day online training program with American nurses, from Monday, August 30 to Saturday, September 4, 2021.

Overview of Training

1. Lectures
The lectures were given by Yoriko KOZUKI, PhD, Associate Professor at the University of Washington School of Nursing, and Yoko HANSEN, RN, a Japanese nurse working at Seattle Children’s Hospital. They provided more nuanced understandings through in-depth discussions of healthcare issues and the health insurance system in the US, as well as the realities of working as nurses, from the perspectives of people who are currently active in the field.

2. Virtual Tours of Healthcare and Welfare Facilities

Participants took online tours of each facility, with commentary from people who work there, giving them the opportunity to learn more about nursing education, the current realities of healthcare, and collaborations between nurses and nursing care workers.
① University of Washington Simulation Center
② Harborview Medical Center
③ Nikkei Manor

3. Interacting with Local Students
Students from the University of Washington took the participants around Seattle and showed them various facilities on the university campus. The nursing students also talked about what they considered particularly important in their studies there, and offered a glimpse of everyday life for students of the university.

4. English Conversation Class
Students studied vocabulary related to medical work and nursing, as well as phrases related to American food culture, through practical conversations and games. On the last day of the program, the participants took advantage of what they had learned in the English conversation class, to give presentations in English on what they had learned through the program.

Report on Activities

A Valuable Opportunity to Hear Firsthand from People Working in the American Nursing Field, and to Consider the Situation in Japan

Supervising Faculty: Associate Professor Yoshinobu KUDO, Assistant Professor Aki GOTO

This six-day training program was held online, but even through a screen, it still offered participating students a great chance to learn about these real-world training facilities, hospitals, and nursing homes, as well as to gain a deeper understanding of problems with the American health insurance system, what it is like to work as nurses in the US, and various other issues related to nursing and health in the US at every level. It also served as an opportunity to consider both the strengths of Japanese nursing and medical care, and the issues faced in these fields, as well as the similarities and differences between Japan and in the US in these regards. Some mentioned that this online program made them even more excited to visit in person one day. This was originally intended as an alternative due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it became clear along the way that this type of online training holds tremendous potential as an approach to learning.

Lessons I Learned from Training with American Nurses, and Goals for the Future

Yuka YOSHIDA, Fourth-Year Student

This program achieved its goal of helping students to understand the differences between the US and Japan when it comes to health insurance systems and nursing systems, as well as to teach both the strengths and challenges for the future for both countries. We learned about the stark contrast between the American and Japanese health insurance systems, which was a valuable reminder not to take for granted the peace of mind that comes from having fair access to medical care at any time. As for the nursing systems, the US has higher standards for nursing education than Japan, with simulation centers at universities that provide environments similar to real clinical settings. This ability to study advanced, specialized knowledge and skills is an advantage of the American system. Many nurses in the US also go into master’s or doctoral courses after gaining some clinical experience, suggesting that having more nurses who specialize in specific fields or who can perform specific medical procedures has led to high-quality medical care being provided. In Japan, on the other hand, the overall trend is greater numbers of NPs and CNSs, but still fewer than in the US; as a result, there are comparatively very few nurses specializing in specific fields, or who can do medical work on par with doctors. At the same time, though, I realized that this lack of specialization can also be major strength of Japanese nursing: instead, nurses provide consistent care and assistance with medical examinations in patients’ treatment and everyday routines, leading in turn to individualized care and building relationships of trust.

The program also achieved its secondary goal of using English lessons to give students a chance to engage in everyday conversation in English, which helped me overcome my difficulties with English and develop the ability to express the things I wanted to say. These lessons used games and pair activities to encourage students to practice using English, as well as interactions with the teacher, and the final day’s presentations on what we learned went well.

My goal for the future is to learn about community healthcare in various countries. The focus of this training was primarily to learn about the roles of, and work performed by, nurses working in American hospitals. However, aging populations have become a problem in major industrialized nations, particularly in Japan, where community healthcare is a central concern, under the slogan “live like yourself, in your own community.” To that end, I believe that I can contribute more effectively to community healthcare as a nurse, by learning about community healthcare efforts in the US and other major industrialized nations with aging populations, and comparing them to Japan to learn from the differences.

Finally, I am glad that despite the pandemic, many people put such work into giving us the opportunity to participate in this online training program with American nurses. Their attentive responses to students’ questions throughout the program, and their help with any problems that arose along the way, helped make this training a highly rewarding experience. I would like to thank the associate professors who gave the lectures, the people at the travel agency, the teachers, and the other three students who joined me for this training program.

Participating in Summer Online Training with American Nurses

Chiharu YAMAGATA, Second-Year Student

Looking back, I feel that this training program built on my prior studies to provide a deeper knowledge of medical and welfare systems, training facilities, the history of Japanese emigration to other countries, and nursing systems. It offered an opportunity to hear from people from various backgrounds, about their attitudes toward nursing in the US, backed by their commitment to providing medical care free of discrimination. They take a palpable sense of responsibility and pride in their nursing work, and I got a clearer understanding of what their roles are as nursing professionals. I was impressed by their collaboration between different specialties and the frequent team discussions. These efforts encourage students to work together through their various drills.

We learned about the US beforehand from a Japanese perspective; hearing from a local perspective, and comparing that to what we had learned, led to such lively opinions that we could have used much more time for Q&A. We could feel the way it led to better learning. This is why I recommend that anyone planning on participating in training programs should study a lot beforehand, so you can exchange opinions with the people there, and experience the local culture, all without feeling too self-conscious.