Stay healthy all you teachers in Japan!

Teaching here at Yokkaichi Nursing and Medical Care University gives me the opportunity to get in on the ground level of nurse training in Japan. These people work their tails off, both teachers and students, to provide the world with top quality care givers. This may sound like crass salemanship, but that is not my intention. I write those things, because they are true of this school and probably all of the rest of the nursing education institutions in the country.

The students and parents have worked hard all their lives to get to this stage where the children are enrolled in a school that will educate them for a vital role in the country’s medical care industry. The students are working hard under the supervision of their qualified and dedicated teachers. And when they graduate, what do they have to look forward to? Here’s a sobering list of numbers from an editorial in the Japan Times.

the average basic monthly pay of a full-time licensed nursing care worker as of October 2007 was ¥194,600 — about 60 percent of the average for all industries.

two-thirds of the workers surveyed were not paid overtime, including 15.6 percent who worked at least 15 hours overtime in a month.

workers who could take an hour break during their shift was less than 50 percent among day workers and less than 70 percent among late-night workers.

half (55 percent) of the workers felt like quitting their job: 50.3 percent cited low wages; 45 percent, a hectic work routine; 15.7 percent, family burdens; and another 15.7 percent cited low public appreciation of their work.

13.1 percent of permanent workers in all industries quit their work within three years of employment, the figure for permanent nursing care workers (excluding home helpers) was 21.7 percent.

51.2 percent said they worried about their health and 61.3 percent suffered from chronic fatigue. About 72 percent of pregnant nursing care workers complained of the conditions they were subjected to during their pregnancy.

Finally, to add insult to injury, Japan will start hiring people from Indonesia as health care workers according to this article from The Economic Times.

If this is a scam to reduce nurses’ wages, the wheels are going to come off, because nobody will want to work as a nurse. I encourage you all to stay healthy and out of hospitals.

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