There is a growing number of Chinese nurses who are flourishing in Japan as the need for healthcare professionals for the elderly continues to grow. While aspiring nurses from Indonesia and the Philippines depend on bilateral economic partnership agreements between their countries, the Chinese have nonprofit organizations to thank.
Out of the 217 foreign certified nurses working in private hospitals in Tokyo, Osaka and nearby areas, 183 are from China, 30 from Vietnam and 4 from South Korea. The Chinese nurses were introduced by nonprofit organizations to help the hospitals cope with the shortage of nurses. Nurses in Japan earn as much as three thousand dollars a month, more than three times than what they can earn at a major hospital in China, hence the attraction.
The organizations that bring them to the country also offer language education for them. While the Chinese have an advantage over other countries because they are familiar with written kanji characters, the language barrier can still present a problem. That’s why the support of the organizations, plus their fellow Chinese nurses is crucial to the success of those coming over from China. Groups like Kokusai Iryo Fukushi Jinzai Ikusei Kiko (“the organization for development of international human resources in medical and welfare services”) offer Japanese-language lessons in China in partnership with 23 universities. Chinese universities are supportive of sending the students to Japan because they will get the best training they can have. As the ageing of China’s population grows, they will be needing health-care professionals with advanced nurse training.
Other foreign nurses in Japan are not faring as well as expected. There are only 96 Indonesian and Filipino nurses currently working under the agreements with their countries. The success rate is only at 10%, as compared to the 70-90% of the Chinese. In the last qualification exam for nurses in March, only 30 successful candidates came from the two countries, despite additional efforts given to foreign nurses to make it easier for them to pass. They received 30% more time to complete the exam, as well as complimentary transliteration of kanji into hiragana so they don’t need to memorize the characters anymore. Still, only 9.6% of foreigners passed and as the number of patients in nursing care facilities in Japan continue to grow, they would need to come up with more measures to find the health care professionals they need.
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]