Connecting students from different parts of the world, the West Virginia University School of Nursing’s collaboration with Hamamatsu Municipal Nursing College in Japan is providing opportunities for students from both schools to share their experiences.
The collaboration started in 2019 when Sugino Toshiko, an English-speaking faculty member from the Hamamatsu school, initiated a global exchange and was interested in connecting with programs in the United States to enhance cultural understanding and increase enrollment.
“I was contacted by Sugino and we were going to have an exchange in Hamamatsu where we would send Mary Fanning and four nursing students to Japan for a 10 day experience,” said Dana Friend, clinical assistant professor for the School of Nursing. “The students were going to visit the hospital where the Hamamatsu nursing students conduct clinicals and visit a public health department, but the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the experience was canceled.”
Due to ongoing safety precautions, the trip has not been rescheduled, but virtual exchanges and language experiences have occurred virtually. This semester, students from WVU will work with Amanda Edwards, clinical instructor for the School of Nursing, who has been instrumental in development of this exchange and Christy Barnhart at the David and Jo Ann Shaw Center for Simulation Training and Education for Patient Safety (STEPS) to simulate child birth and record a video with Japanese subtitles to send to the Hamamatsu students.
“In addition to the simulated childbirth video, this year, on November 29, we are going to do a virtual exchange with students from Hamamatsu,” said Friend. “The cultural exchange will provide students with the opportunity to talk about childbirth, the cultural issues relating to childbirth and facts about childbirth in Japan, and to have a discussion about what they have learned from each other.”
Language exchanges will continue throughout the school year to help the students in Japan practice English.
“This collaboration is an excellent way for students to learn about other cultures, learn how nursing is practiced in other countries and clinical settings and it will open our eyes and make us culturally sensitive to how nursing is different in Japan.”
WVU School of Nursing students who are interested in participating in the virtual exchange should contact Dana Friend.