Bellevue College became a center for cultural fusion last week from Oct. 26 – 28. Japanese nursing students from Tottori City College of Medical Health and Nursing in Tottori prefecture of Japan visited the main campus to share their culture, experiences and nursing practices. The three days were scheduled with a tour of the T building and its health sciences equipment such as the ultrasound room, a sit-in on nursing classes, a lecture on US nursing skills and practices and a final lecture presented by Japanese students about current health issues in Japan.
During the tour, the Japanese nursing students toured the various classrooms and simulation laboratories in the T building. BC’s nursing students were also given the opportunity to educate their guests about nursing skills that they are currently or will be learning. One of BC’s first-year nursing students said, “I taught a few Japanese students how to put an [nasogastric tube] in a patient and it was awesome.” A NG tube is used for short or medium-term nutritional support.
On their final day, the Tottori nursing students gave a presentation about one of the main health issues in Japan. At the moment, Japanese nursing students are concerned with the rapid rate of aging in Japan. Japan’s aging rate tops other nations and “is now aging faster than any other on the planet,” according to an article by the Economist. More than 22 percent of the Japanese population is already 65 or older according to the Tottori students’ presentation, and by 2020. Japan will see a decrease in its population. Therefore, the main concern for Japan is to find a suitable health care alternative for the elderly population while promoting the growth of younger generations.
Although there are facilities available for the geriatric community, the current health movement is to transfer this group to a local health service. Many members of the older population prefer to live in their own homes or communities and as a result, the Japanese nursing students are finding ways to accommodate to these alternative long-term care plans. For example, in some cities of Japan, the entire population is comprised of people 65 years or older. In these communities, “the people get their groceries or other necessities from delivery trucks that make weekly rounds,” said Hiro Koizumi, a faculty adviser from the Tottori nursing college.
The Japanese students concluded their final day with a traditional dance. The dean of the Office of International Education and Global initiatives Jean D’arc Campbell was proud of how BC’s nursing students were welcoming of the Tottori students. Campbell hopes that these opportunities will be more available in the future.
For the assistant dean of BC’s nursing program Dr. Suzanne Beltz, the three-day event was important for both the Japanese and BC’s nursing students. “We must be citizens of the world,” said Beltz as she commended the amount of knowledge exchanged from both cultures.