Japanese Nurses' Perceptions Regarding Relation with Foreign Patients

Monday, 22 July 2013

Mari Hirota, BSN, MSN
Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Science, HYOGO UNIVERSITY, Kakogawa, Japan
Misae Ito, RN, RMW, MSN, PhD
Department of Nursing, Faculty of Haelth and Welfale, Kawasaki University of Medical Welfare, Kurashiki, Japan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify the issues of nurses in relation with foreign patients in Japanese hospital.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to consider international nursing within a country.


The aim of this study is to clarify the issue on caring foreign patients in Japanese nurses who work in hospitals across the country.


A structured questionnaire was distributed to nurses working in 1000 hospitals with 20 beds or more between July and October 2011, randomly selected and grouped by hospital bed size in Japan, except Miyagi, Iwate, and Ibaraki Prefectures. In each hospital four nurses were recruited to receive a questionnaire by the director of nursing. The questionnaire included demographic data such as age, sex, years working as a nurse, and linguistic competence; experience of relation with a foreign patient; and confusion experienced by nurses caring for him/her. 


758 questionnaires were returned with a response rate of 19.8%. About half of nurses experienced relation with a foreign patient in the past one year. As for the annual number of foreign patients, most were from 1~9 persons. Approximately 30% of the respondents replied their verbal ability to talk and to hear except Japanese as "the level that everyday life is possible" or "a simple word level." 90% of the nurses experiencing a foreign patient pointed out that the embarrassing experience with a foreign patient was "language." 


Verbal ability of nurse self is a discouraging factor of caring foreign patient. It is suggested that to be solved the problem of language leads to confidence of a nurse caring a foreign patient. Therefore the learning enlightenment about culture or foreign people of the nurse is also necessary for the relation with foreign patient at the same time as it is essential to set up a verbal communication tool at a hospital.