By Mary Coleman
With their dark dress suits and white blouses, these Japanese nursing students looked more like they were working in an office rather than touring BYU. But they traveled more than 6,000 miles to learn about the nurse?s role in America.
For the past three years, students from Hakuho Women?s College have traveled from Osaka, Japan to Provo to broaden their nursing education.
This year, the college?s second-year students stayed one week in Utah, learning about America?s health care system.
Teaming with Selnate, an international school that provides English language and cultural experiences for foreigners, the students? schedule included lectures, shadowing and volunteer experiences. Selnate also placed the students with Utah County families for their stay.
BYU hosted the students for two days, showing them the simulation labs in the Nursing Learning Center and allowing them to interact with BYU nursing students. In the lab, students were shown the simulation mannequins on which BYU nursing students practice various nursing techniques.
?The first year [the students] were here, they were blown away by the things our students do,? said Starla Aragon, a senior from Corona, Calif. who works in the Nursing Learning Center.
Shelly Reed, a BYU nursing professor, gave a lecture titled ?Nursing in the U.S.,? which overviewed the role of nurses in the American healthcare system.
During a luncheon, the visiting students outlined their college and education process to BYU nursing students. Afterward, students from both colleges mingled and shared experiences in nursing.
Emi Kitazaki, a visiting student, said she noticed many differences between her education and a BYU student?s education, citing that at her college, students don?t practice giving medicine.
?[It?s] high quality training for BYU nurses,? Kitazaki said through an interpreter.
Though the education systems differ, many Japanese students recognized the significance of the visit.
?Our goal is the same,? said Kae Honda, a student from Japan. ?I wish [for] BYU students to be good nurses.?
BYU does not send its nursing students to Japan, but students study abroad in many other countries.
?It?s a wonderful opportunity for us to give back because so many other people in other countries host our students, and it allows us to do that for somebody else,? said Rae Jeanne Memmott, coordinator for international affairs for the College of Nursing.
Hakuho Women?s College is a two-year school located outside Osaka, Japan, in the city of Nara. The school has 600 students and offers three majors: nursing, English and elementary education.