Japan needs nurses, STAT - page 4

by betakurt 13,379 Views | 36 Comments

Japan Health Care | Population | Elderly | Nursing... Read More


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    A small number of American nurses could probably pass the test, many of them Japanese-Americans who also studied the language formally. But among this small number, how many could pass the test, and how many would be willing to relocate? A very, very small number. Also Americans in general are seen by Japanese as fiercely independent, likely to rock the boat, etc. Given all of this it isn't likely that many visas would be issued for American RNs.
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    While most Japanese are exposed to English in school and can read a little bit, MANY cannot speak English at all when it comes down to it. And the older they are, the more they've forgotten. You would have to be VERY fluent to be a nurse in any country- giving and recieving instructions on the fly, reacting, teaching, talking to people with tubes in their nose or airway... Filipinos use a lot of English in their country (signs in english, english everywhere, on TV, etc.) and that makes them very good at implementing their skills in the workplace abroad. We don't try to start off people in Bangladesh with an English crash course.

    Cheers to those 1-3 Pinay and Indo nurses who made it into Japan (if I am to understand correctly that this is the case). What they have accomplished is almost unbelievable. They must be very intelligent and hard-working. Also very brave and ambitious. I'd welcome them here in the US with open arms after they finish their tour in Japan.
    banchan and CrufflerJJ like this.
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    Tough situation IMHO. From my experience living overseas, it is difficult to apply all of our ideals as Americans to another society.

    However, without going off on the racism tangent, I do think that a foreign health care provider must be fluent in the language of the country where they will work. Anybody who works health care should understand just how important it is to communicate among the health care team and the patient/family. In many ways, the nurse is the bridge between these two concepts and not only does a foreign nurse need to understand the medical aspect of the language, they must do additional translation as they will need to translate the medical concepts into language that is easy to understand in order to communicate with the patient/ family.

    Do we not expect nurses to have a better than "average" understanding of the written and spoken language in America? Do we still require prospective nurses to complete at least a semester of literature and a semester of composition before even being allowed to enter most nursing programmes in the United States? Do we still expect nurses to research, write papers and navigate the finer points of citing in APA format? Do we still grade prospective nurses on their ability to educate patients and family in the clinical setting and present a case study or topic in front of the class in the didactic setting?
    CrufflerJJ and mmm333 like this.
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    They have the blue tranlational phones in US hospitals for non-English speaking patients. They are needing us for our nursing skills. It takes a long time to become fluent/conversational in another language, and I'm sure it would take a lot longer to be able to learn medical terminology in another language - it wouldn't be just basic conversational Japanese. Don't forget dosages, numbers, medications,etc - there's a great chance for error. I think the interpreter, or interpreter phone is safer, more accurate - unless you're a native Japanese speaker.
    mmm333 likes this.
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    Quote from lcc1080
    They have the blue tranlational phones in US hospitals for non-English speaking patients. They are needing us for our nursing skills. It takes a long time to become fluent/conversational in another language, and I'm sure it would take a lot longer to be able to learn medical terminology in another language - it wouldn't be just basic conversational Japanese. Don't forget dosages, numbers, medications,etc - there's a great chance for error. I think the interpreter, or interpreter phone is safer, more accurate - unless you're a native Japanese speaker.
    Why not apply this concept to the United States? I'm not sure about others, but I'm not all that keen on letting nurses who are not fluent in English take care of me in my own country. People from other countries are able to master English a supposedly difficult language, why should it be any different in Japan?
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    Quote from lcc1080
    Wouldn't it be more cost efficient to hire a couple of translators per hospital, and just let the nurses do their thing, with assistance when needed? Duh!
    I can even believe yoou suggested this- how do you relate? And what if you needed something urgently, to tell patient, family or doctor, then what next?
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    It's the Chinese characters. If you try to learn 5000 Chinese characters the hiragana and katakana alphabets, and the various levels of grammar that depend on who you are speaking to, you'll soon understand that it is nearly impossible for a busy adult to master Japanese to the point where they are able to perform a job such as RN. Most people hit a wall around 1500 kanji where they all start looking the same and no matter how many new ones you learn, you seem to forget the old ones.
    Most people who get past this wall do it by living in Japan for years AND studying very hard, reading newspapers, watching TV, and engaging in conversations there. A Bachelors just brings you to the intermediate conversational level, whereas with Spanish you are already reading literature and writing complex essays, something that takes a while longer when every sentence has you digging through kanji dictionaries trying to crack a word. If a nurse has been at it for years already and spent significant time immersed, it is possible. However it's not likely that enough nurses could be provided from the US to fill the gap. And the cultural issues remain regardless of language- many Americans after getting to that point would fail to adjust to the cultural demands, leaving such a tiny residual that any program wouldn't be worth it to anyone funding it. As much as I would love to take my show to Japan, I can't imagine it happening. Japan has a long history of economic protectionism anyway. There are already many Japanese-Americans eligible for citizenship in Japan who go over that way. Without a passport, any employment there would be a temporary situation anyway.

    Honestly I think the best thing to do is go ahead and study Japanese or Chinese and then work in Hawaii, LA, San Diego, or the Bay Area. You will definitely have plenty of opportunities to use it both with elderly J-Americans and also transient Japanese nationals. In this context even an intermediate grasp of Japanese could be employed usefully. Once you are pretty proficient you may find yourself getting assigned many of these patients so that you can offer this communication. The compensation is nothing in light of the effort- so it's a labor of love for the most part. The same amount of time, dedicated to becoming an Advanced Practice RN or getting one's JD or MBA, might seem like a better use of time to some people.
    Last edit by mmm333 on Sep 2, '10
    CrufflerJJ likes this.


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