82 Pinoy nurses off to Japan despite nuclear danger

Published by rudy Date posted on April 1, 2011

The third batch of 82 Filipino nurses will leave for Japan on May 30 to undergo intensive Japanese language training to further boost their chances of passing the country’s tough licensure examinations.

Before departing for Japan, the nurses would have to undergo a two-month preparatory language course in Manila to be conducted by Japanese instructors.

“This demonstrates the perseverance and dedication of both countries to take initiatives in improving the standing of Filipino candidate nurses in particular, especially in successfully integrating them, through language, not just to the Japanese community but to their professions as well once they pass the Japanese Nursing Licensure Examination,” Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura said.

Recently, Japan revised its licensure exam for foreign nurses and caregivers to increase the passing rate of health workers.

Since 2009, the Philippines has sent a total of 139 nurses and 299 caregivers to train in Japan through an economic partnership agreement between Manila and Tokyo that was signed in 2006. Of the 139 nurses, only two passed the licensure exam.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of Japanese language training and as I have said time and again, it is essential not only for pursuing a successful nursing profession in Japan but also for leading a well-integrated life within the Japanese society,” Katsura said on Tuesday at the formal launch of the training course for the Filipinos nursing candidates.

This is the first time that Japan is implementing a preparatory language training prior to departure for Japan.

“Although I have no doubts that you will be able to fulfill your duties and responsibilities as healthcare professionals in Japan, I am also aware that one of the most difficult obstacles for passing the Japanese nursing licensure examinations is the language barrier,” he said.

Japan has been taking steps to improve the employment scheme for foreign health workers to attract more Filipinos in seeking employment opportunities in Japan.

In a previous briefing, its embassy in Manila said it has introduced “improvements” in the licensure exams by incorporating English medical terms and using simpler Japanese words to make it “more passable” for foreign applicants. Japan modified the content of its exam last 2010.

Those who will fail the licensure tests in Japan can only re-take the exam within their prescribed period of stay in Japan.

If after several tries they still fail the examination, they would have to return to the Philippines and re-apply again for training until they become qualified and licensed health workers in Japan.

Apart from the six months of paid language training, Filipino nurses and caregivers subsequently work in Japanese hospitals and caregiving facilities, for three years and four years, respectively, to familiarize themselves with the Japanese healthcare system.

During that time, nurses undergoing work-training receive an average monthly salary of 130,000 yen to 220,000 yen or roughly P66,000 and P113,000 in local currency. For caregivers, the monthly wage ranges from 125,000 yen to 185,000 yen or P64,000 and P95,000. Michaela P. del Callar, Daily Tribune

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