New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Boosting Cross-Cultural Competence in Japanese Nursing Students

David Casenove, Chiba University (Japan)


Thanks to its ease of accessibility, healthcare in Japan has led to an extension of life expectancy over the past decades. This has raised a double issue: 1) the proportion of the elderly needing nursing care has increased, and 2) the population of healthcare professionals (e.g. nurses) that reaches retirement age has also increased. To palliate this situation, the Japanese government has launched Economic Partnership Agreement programs (EPA) aimed at inviting internationally educated nurses (IENs) from Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines but the implementation of these programs have only yielded poor results due to the difficulty of taking the Japanese National Licensure Examination (JNNLEX), the difficulty to learn the Japanese language and the lack of integration in Japanese institutions. This latter factor may be connected to the poor level of cultural competence among Japanese colleagues (nurses, doctors and administrators). This study examines the impact of a cross-cultural English language course on the level of cross-cultural competence of Japanese nursing students with regards to the internationalization of the patient population and healthcare services. The research focuses on interviews and survey questionnaire data that were collected throughout the course to establish the preparedness of Japanese training nurses from first year to fourth year in relation to English language proficiency and cross-cultural awareness. Our findings suggest that a majority of students initially consider English proficiency as a skill applicable mostly to academic endeavors (research publication/ communication) with little connection to professional practice (in care facilities). Students generally expressed interest in cross-cultural language courses and could recognize aspects of speech that connect directly to nursing care at the end of the course.

Keywords: Nursing education, English language, cross-cultural competence, curriculum design;

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