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Working in Japan as a Nurse and the Japanese Nursing Licensure Exam

Nesi_Saiyuki

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hello! :) I have a few questions regarding the Japanese Licensure Exam as well as working as a nurse in Japan. I do hope someone can help. It will be greatly appreciated.
1. What type of exam is the Japanese Nuring Licensure Exam? Is it in multiple choice where you have to choose from choice A, B, C, or D?
2. How do you apply for work as a nurse in Japan? I'm from the Philippines and I know that the Philippines has an agreement with Japan through the JPEPA program. But is there any way around it? You see, I am half German-Filipino. What are the requirements or qualifications for a foreigner who wants to work as a nurse in Japan?
Thanks in advance. :)
 

nice gaijin

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getting the obvious out of the way, how's your Japanese?
 

Nesi_Saiyuki

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it's quite good from what people tell me, but I still need more practice. Especially with writing. Kanji kills me. XD
 

Mike Cash

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Since there is a program in place specifically to assist nurses from your country work in Japan, I have to wonder why you want to "get around it". Would you mind sharing that with us?
 

Nesi_Saiyuki

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it's because it'll be a hassle. And many are against that program. Politics, you know? It would be "unstable grounds" given that many here are protesting. Plus I wonder if they'll accept me in the first place. If I go out of this country I'm German. If I'm here in the Philippines, I'm a Filipino. The requirements for that program is that the nurse should be a Filipino, one needs 2~3years work experience in this country, but I want to leave after a year. Trust me, health care here sucks and I doubt I will be able to learn anything properly here compared to the advanced health care of Japan.
 

undrentide

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I believe that the program offered by JPEPA is the easiest and shortest way to work as a nurse in Japan for you. ("Easiest" is just compared with alternative way, not that the applying and passing exams are easy.)
ツ 
Otherwise you have to pass the exam (either the exam by the national government or municipality depending on the kind of nurses).
Here's a website which explains all the details on nurses in Japan, about the qualifications and exams, schools, etc. all in Japanese language.
If you have difficulties to understand this website, I strongly recommend to go with the special program by JPEPA.

Here's the test in 2009.
The one to take in the morning ツ(9:45~12:30) and another in the afternoon (14:30~17:00).
Yes, they are multiple choice type of tests, but you need a good conduct of Japanese language plus good knowledge (and maybe some experience) of nursing in Japanese language.
http://www.mhlw.go.jp/topics/2009/04/dl/tp0422-3j.pdf
http://www.mhlw.go.jp/topics/2009/04/dl/tp0422-3h.pdf
 

Mike Cash

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it's because it'll be a hassle. And many are against that program. Politics, you know? It would be "unstable grounds" given that many here are protesting. Plus I wonder if they'll accept me in the first place. If I go out of this country I'm German. If I'm here in the Philippines, I'm a Filipino. The requirements for that program is that the nurse should be a Filipino, one needs 2~3years work experience in this country, but I want to leave after a year. Trust me, health care here sucks and I doubt I will be able to learn anything properly here compared to the advanced health care of Japan.

I believe the idea behind allowing foreign nurses into Japan was to fill a shortage of experienced nurses who can provide care to patients, not to provide experience to foreign nurses.
 

Elizabeth

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Is this about covering a shortage for the well being of patients or a high handed, de facto ban on Filipions in our-vested-interest policy ? It sure looks like Japanese nurses are building up nearly insurmountable barriers to cheap but skilled foreign nurses from the Philippines who would have a potentially "negative impact" on the labor market (=deprive them of their jobs).
 

undrentide

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Is this about covering a shortage for the well being of patients or a high handed, de facto ban on Filipions in our-vested-interest policy ? It sure looks like Japanese nurses are building up nearly insurmountable barriers to cheap but skilled foreign nurses from the Philippines who would have a potentially "negative impact" on the labor market (=deprive them of their jobs).

I wonder in what way "Japanese nurses are building up nearly insurmountable barriers"?
 
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Is this about covering a shortage for the well being of patients or a high handed, de facto ban on Filipions in our-vested-interest policy ? It sure looks like Japanese nurses are building up nearly insurmountable barriers cheap but s tokilled foreign nurses from the Philippines who would have a potentially "negative impact" on the labor market (=deprive them of their jobs).
Considering that the last two changes in the medical system is requiring nurse to patient ratio is to be upped by law, which then in turn requires more nurses for less patients, I wonder what barriers that the Japanese nursing Association building. There is such a shortage of nurses right now that some hospitals are paying nearly equal "part time" wages as Doctors, that is how bad it is in some places. (or good if you are a nusse)

So if you think Japanese hospitals wanting to have foriegn nurses be able to read and speak Japanese so they don't make a mistake when administering potentialy fatal medicine to patients, I agree they are "building up nearly insurmountable barriers to cheap but skilled foreign nurses".

I for one know quite a few hospitals that welcome qualified experienced staff from overseas.
 

nice gaijin

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Trust me, health care here sucks and I doubt I will be able to learn anything properly here compared to the advanced health care of Japan.
Not to spark a debate over the systems themselves, but it's interesting how relative assessments like this can be. I was just talking to a Japanese friend who did some research into the Japanese and American health systems for a school presentation and found that Japan's was far less "advanced," a trade-off for being much more affordable (due to the government price caps).

don't want to derail the subject, just making an observation.
 
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Not to spark a debate over the systems themselves, but it's interesting how relative assessments like this can be. I was just talking to a Japanese friend who did some research into the Japanese and American health systems for a school presentation and found that Japan's was far less "advanced," a trade-off for being much more affordable (due to the government price caps).

don't want to derail the subject, just making an observation.
In some areas yes. But in others the health care system is more advanced than America. Exactly what was less advanced? B/c I know of quite a few instances where Japan has lead the way in certain Medical treatments. You can't just come out and a general statement like that.

And what government price caps are you speaking of?

That is the problem when people do "some" research on a particular subject.
 

Elizabeth

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I wonder in what way "Japanese nurses are building up nearly insurmountable barriers"?
Because according to Yumiuri Shinbun, all 103 foreign nurses who arrived in 2008 failed the first national examination in February 2009. The main hurdle: language, specifically Kanji.

“Nearly all the exam questions include technical terms and difficult kanji that even most Japanese could not read at a glance. For example, the questions include kanji for “jokuso” (bedsore), “gyogai” (lying on one’s back) and “doseki” (push or strain).” (8 January 2010)

Even Japanese native speakers fail the nurses test so why would a foreigner who also has to learn written, spoken and reading Japanese at the same time be expected to pass? Training and language education of the workers is not systematic on the state level but falls largely to the facilities that accept them. Once they fail (as expected), they are replaced by another group who then perform the same menial hospital tasks while ’studying’ on these training visas. Basically taking a work load off their Japanese colleagues instead of looking for creative ways to lessen the communication burden.
 
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Because according to Yumiuri Shinbun, all 103 foreign nurses who arrived in 2008 failed the first national examination in February 2009. The main hurdle: language, specifically Kanji.

“Nearly all the exam questions include technical terms and difficult kanji that even most Japanese could not read at a glance. For example, the questions include kanji for “jokuso” (bedsore), “gyogai” (lying on one’s back) and “doseki” (push or strain).” (8 January 2010)

Even Japanese native speakers fail the nurses test so why would a foreigner who also has to learn written, spoken and reading Japanese at the same time be expected to pass? Training and language education of the workers is not systematic on the state level but falls largely to the facilities that accept them. Once they fail (as expected), they are replaced by another group who then perform the same menial hospital tasks while ’studying’ on these training visas. Basically taking a work load off their Japanese colleagues instead of looking for creative ways to lessen the communication burden.



So you are saying , give them a free pass b/c of the difficulties involved with learning the language? Never mind that those tests are there so that nurses are properly trained and knowledgable in a feild where one mistake can mean life and death. Especially when it comes to the "専門用語" in the medical feild. The mind boggles, really, we are not talking about teaching comprehension here, of corse Japanese are going to fail. If the tests were so easy to pass that any Jane ,Dick and Harry could pass there would be all sorts of medical accidents added to the already long list. Difficult Kanji and words ares used in "医療現場" and that is a fact, so learning them is and should be a prerequisite , b/c we are not just talking about what " most Japanese " can understand here. They are or should be highly trained professionals that have your life in their hands.

Do you feel the same way about Doctors too? Would you be happy being attended to by a Doctor who has passed the medical test in his/her country but not in America? Especially when they could be administering life threatening drugs into your intravenous drip.

I have passed a "国家試験" that had a pass rate of 17% last year in the medical field and there are other foriegn workers in the medical field who have passed the exams in their field. I am no one special , so if I and others can do it so can they.

I am all for foreign labor , but they need to be trained and pass exams just like anyone else. No free pass should ever be given to people in jobs like these, that is just a recipe for disaster. I don't see any conspiracy to not let foriegn workers into the country.
 

Nesi_Saiyuki

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I believe that the program offered by JPEPA is the easiest and shortest way to work as a nurse in Japan for you. ("Easiest" is just compared with alternative way, not that the applying and passing exams are easy.)
ツ 
Otherwise you have to pass the exam (either the exam by the national government or municipality depending on the kind of nurses).
Here's a website which explains all the details on nurses in Japan, about the qualifications and exams, schools, etc. all in Japanese language.
If you have difficulties to understand this website, I strongly recommend to go with the special program by JPEPA.

Here's the test in 2009.
The one to take in the morning ツ(9:45~12:30) and another in the afternoon (14:30~17:00).
Yes, they are multiple choice type of tests, but you need a good conduct of Japanese language plus good knowledge (and maybe some experience) of nursing in Japanese language.
http://www.mhlw.go.jp/topics/2009/04/dl/tp0422-3j.pdf
http://www.mhlw.go.jp/topics/2009/04/dl/tp0422-3h.pdf

Finally someone who answered my questions. Thanks. ^^ lols, I'm not worrying about that for the moment. From what I heard from the people I know who started working abroad, foreign exams are easier when compared to our local nursing licensure exam.
 

Elizabeth

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Do the Japanese nurses have a better solution to their understaffing issues than foreign labor ? If they aren't willing to use furigana or hiragana, they can continue to shoot themselves in the foot and watch the bleeding for all I am concerned. Just don't blame Indonesian, Filipino and Middle Eastern workers set up for sure failure going to a medically advanced country for three years in their own professional benefit.
 

Nesi_Saiyuki

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I believe the idea behind allowing foreign nurses into Japan was to fill a shortage of experienced nurses who can provide care to patients, not to provide experience to foreign nurses.
It's almost as if you're saying it's alright to get incompetent nurses just to fill in the shortage of nurses in Japan.
 
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Do the Japanese nurses have a better solution to their understaffing issues than foreign labor ? If they aren't willing to use furigana or hiragana, they can continue to shoot themselves in the foot and watch the bleeding for all I am concerned. Just don't blame Indonesian, Filipino and Middle Eastern workers set up for sure failure going to a medically advanced country for three years in their own professional benefit.

Why dosen't the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure EXamination-Registered Nurse) exam say "Blood movement" instead of "Hemodynamics", or why don't they come up with another word for "Pathophysiology"? I see the same similarities to what you are suggesting.

Why , b/c words like Hemodynamics and Pathophysiology are pertinent to the medical field. Learning about those words and others required for nursing in America requires them to be studied just like a foriegner has to learn what "テ・テアテ。ナ? means.

Why is Japan to blame for the "Indonesian, Filipino and Middle Eastern" workers failure? If I could go to a foriegn country and and in three years learn the language and get a licence in the medical field I would be there in a heart beat. If they prepared themselves by studying the language before they go they would have a lot better chance of passing. I don't understand why you are passing the buck to the Japanese medical system? Don't they have an obligation to allow only the best educated or qualified into an extremly important workplace?

And BTW, you made it sound like those workers were being used as cheap labor by doing "menial hospital tasks ", but none of the hospitals are allowed to include those foriegn workers as nursing staff , which in the end comes out of the hospitals pocket.
 

Elizabeth

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Why dosen't the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure EXamination-Registered Nurse) exam say "Blood movement" instead of "Hemodynamics", or why don't they come up with another word for "Pathophysiology"? I see the same similarities to what you are suggesting.
Why , b/c words like Hemodynamics and Pathophysiology are pertinent to the medical field. Learning about those words and others required for nursing in America requires them to be studied just like a foriegner has to learn what "褥瘡" means.
Why is Japan to blame for the "Indonesian, Filipino and Middle Eastern" workers failure? If I could go to a foriegn country and and in three years learn the language and get a licence in the medical field I would be there in a heart beat. If they prepared themselves by studying the language before they go they would have a lot better chance of passing. I don't understand why you are passing the buck to the Japanese medical system? Don't they have an obligation to allow only the best educated or qualified into an extremly important workplace?
Because it is the Japanese medical establishment that is carelessly accepting these unprepared workers to address the shortage knowing that half the Japanese test takers fail but the foreigners have only one chance at the same fate. Requiring foreign nurses to train, study the language, learn technical language and cultural norms, then provide services at the same time for a low wage, only to fail the licensing exam and be repatriated is fair to neither the foreigners, their Japanese colleagues, hospital management, patients or society in general. Is there even a requirement that their verbal and listening skills be up graded prior to being issued a license ?

Although no doubt the situation is infinitely worse in English speaking countries with no kanji to screen out the under skilled or so-called "unqualified applicants," and you are still left with difficulties in spoken communication, accents, unfamiliar terminology etc. even in native speakers. If the person can meet the minimum amount of certification (Written TOEFFL) to be passed off onto a hospital so that the recruiting agency can make some money off of them, so be it. :eek:

And BTW, you made it sound like those workers were being used as cheap labor by doing "menial hospital tasks ", but none of the hospitals are allowed to include those foriegn workers as nursing staff , which in the end comes out of the hospitals pocket.
OK, I wasn't familiar with how the trainees, assistants, care workers or whatever their title were paid. In any case, the only real solution seems to be to accept foreign students with adequate language ability into Japanese nursing schools and colleges and let them get the education and skills they need in Japan. :)
 

undrentide

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Because it is the Japanese medical establishment that is carelessly accepting these unprepared workers to address the shortage knowing that half the Japanese test takers fail but the foreigners have only one chance at the same fate. Requiring foreign nurses to train, study the language, learn technical language and cultural norms, then provide services at the same time for a low wage, only to fail the licensing exam and be repatriated is fair to neither the foreigners, their Japanese colleagues, hospital management, patients or society in general. Is there even a requirement that their verbal and listening skills be up graded prior to being issued a license ?
.....................
OK, I wasn't familiar with how the trainees, assistants, care workers or whatever their title were paid. In any case, the only real solution seems to be to accept foreign students with adequate language ability into Japanese nursing schools and colleges and let them get the education and skills they need in Japan. :)

Have you checked what the program JPEPA actually offers?

Here's the webpage of JICWELS (Japan International Corporation of Welfare Services) explaining about the program for nurses/caretakers from Indonesia and Philippines.
http://www.jicwels.or.jp/html/EPA-top.htm

There seem to be two coureses ツ就ヒ廱ニ坦ツーニ湛 (OJT) and ツ就ナ?wニ坦ツーニ湛 (schooling).
Even the OJT course offers 6 months of education period for Japanese language and nursing/caretaking before the trainee start working at hospitals and other establishments.

Currently the trainees can stay up to 3 years to work during which they should take the national exam for nurse/caretaker qualification (up to 3 times).
If they pass, they can stay and continue working.

If they fail, they have to leave but they still have a chance. They can come back for short time stay to take the exam (note that there's requirement to take the exam, and those trainees who failed are counted as full-filled the requirement), and if they pass, they can enter Japan to work as a nurse/caretaker after they get nomination from Philippines government and JICWELS.
http://www.jicwels.or.jp/html/philippine_Q&A.pdf
 

Mike Cash

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It's almost as if you're saying it's alright to get incompetent nurses just to fill in the shortage of nurses in Japan.

I said nothing of the kind and can't imagine how you managed to so completely misread what I wrote. I intimated precisely the opposite.

If they require three years experience to enter the program, then it is obvious they want nurses with that baseline of practical experience. I was pointing out that with only one year of experience you fail to meet that minimum baseline and would not be considered a desirable candidate. You are looking for a way to game the system, and I don't like it when people try to game the system.
 

Nesi_Saiyuki

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I said nothing of the kind and can't imagine how you managed to so completely misread what I wrote. I intimated precisely the opposite.
If they require three years experience to enter the program, then it is obvious they want nurses with that baseline of practical experience. I was pointing out that with only one year of experience you fail to meet that minimum baseline and would not be considered a desirable candidate. You are looking for a way to game the system, and I don't like it when people try to game the system.

You are perhaps right. I apologize. However I want to do my work experience in Japan and not here. If there is no possible way of that happening then so be it.
 

mizukerntz

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You are perhaps right. I apologize. However I want to do my work experience in Japan and not here. If there is no possible way of that happening then so be it.

I also studied in the Philippines but I'm a japanese citizen. Is there anyway I can work here in Japan without experience?
 
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