Exciting things took place over the summer for the University of Findlay’s Nursing Program including a relocation from the Davis Street building to The Village and the establishment of a new exchange program with University of Fukui’s nursing program in Japan.
While renovations took place in The Village, a trio representing the Nursing Program traveled to Fukui for three weeks. Bill Lightner, D.N.P., instructor of nursing, Lightner’s wife Tammy and senior nursing student Catherine Brownfield participated in the trip to give Fukui students a well-rounded idea of what life is like in the United States and lay the groundwork for an exchange program.
This trip came to fruition with the assistance of Hiroaki Kawamura, Ph.D., associate professor of Japanese, after a Japanese delegation visited the University of Findlay last year.
Representing an instructor, student, and patient perspective, they each presented to a mix of Fukui faculty and students of all disciplines. Lightner presented on the City of Findlay, the University of Findlay, his doctoral research on communication and why students should come to UF. Brownfield spoke on similar topics with a student’s perspective, and Lightner’s wife led craft workshops and spoke about her experience in the United States from a patient’s perspective.
“The presentations served several purposes. My presentation on my research was a request by their university to see what kinds of things we do as instructors from an academic standpoint and how we become better students and professors ourselves,” said Lightner. “Most of the audiences had never met anyone from the west. This was a chance to give them an overview and highlights of our area.”
Lightner and Brownfield also learned how the nursing profession in Japan differs from the United States by observing classes at the University of Fukui and visiting area healthcare facilities.
“We participated in three lectures and two skills labs on campus,” Lightner explained. “What they consider a skills lab is a little different than what we have here.”
Fukui nursing students attend a lecture and immediately go into a lab to practice what they learned whereas nursing programs in the United States often keep lecture and labs completely separate. This was one takeaway for Lightner that led him to implement a similar course structure into future nursing classes.
When visiting hospitals and a nursing home in Japan, Lightner and Brownfield found that the role of the nurse and doctor differed from those in the United States. Lightner explained that nurses work with patients more holistically while the doctors are more hands-on, requiring nurses to take fewer dedicated science courses than those in the United States.
“Their scope of practice is very different from ours and the doctors do a lot of what in the United States we think of as nursing work. They (nurses) focus a lot more on holistic care,” said Brownfield. “I think in the United States we get too focused on caring for a disease or treating an illness and not focusing on the whole person.”
When it comes to the nursing profession in the United States, more education in science is required. Lightner often tells his students that “nurses are the last line of defense” meaning that nurses must have a basic understanding of what other professions do for patients in addition to their own responsibilities.
With its differences, Lightner admitted that the healthcare in Japan is neither better nor worse than in the United States. He believes that Japan’s version of nursing fits within their culture and the United States’ method is efficient for its population.
“The interesting thing about their culture is that they think all we eat are hamburgers and pizza, and all we do is have fun. Most of them had no exposure to our culture.,” said Lightner. “In nursing, your technique may not be the same way, but you’re both taking care of people.”
To give more students an understanding of the nursing profession in a different culture, the University of Findlay and University of Fukui will continue an exchange program where students will be able to go overseas for short periods time.
“Learning the sciences would help them (Fukui students) understand why something happened, not just that it happened which allows you to predict possibilities,” said Lightner. “They’re getting it, just not as heavy of a dose as our students are.”
For University of Findlay students, Brownfield thinks that learning another culture will help her peers in their future careers.
“We will treat people from all over the world and being able to connect with them on their own level is very important,” said Brownfield. “Being well-rounded is important as a medical professional.”
The University of Findlay will host students and an instructor from the University of Fukui in March 2018 and plans to send students to the University of Fukui in June 2018. For more information about the nursing exchange program, please contact Bill Lightner at 419-434-5931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.