JAPAN - "Was the breakfast good?" a Chinese nursing assistant asked a male patient at the surgery ward of the Nissan Tamagawa Hospital in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, earlier this month.
Two Chinese women, Xu Ya, 23 and Huang Ya, 22, both from the Hunan Province, China, started working as nursing assistants at the hospital from April.
They graduated from a nursing school in China in July and came to Japan through the assistance of the International Nurse Training Association-a Kyoto-based nonprofit organisation-in November. While learning Japanese at a Japanese-language school, they studied for the certification exam to become a nurse in Japan. In March, they passed the assistant nurse examination, and now are studying for next year's national examination for certified nurses while working at the hospital.
While foreign assistant nurses are allowed to stay in Japan for up to four years, there is no time limit for certified nurses.
"Japan is advanced in nursing techniques," Huang said. "I'd like to become a certified nurse and keep working in Japan. I also want to send money back to my family."
The hospital accepted three other Chinese, supporting them with its own training programme. "All of them are excellent workers filled with zeal," a senior hospital official said.
There has been a rapid increase in foreign nurses working at hospitals in Japan.