During a five-day period starting from July 28, the vice principal and three other staff members from the University of Nursing Yangon in Myanmar visited Japan as part of a program to foster interaction with the IMS Group Itabashi Central Nursing School and the IMS Yokohama International Nursing School, and also toured the Itabashi Chuo Medical Center, the Yokohama Asahi Chuo General Hospital, the IMS Itabashi Rehabilitation Hospital, and the IMS Itabashi Health Examination Clinic.
At the Itabashi and Yokohama International Nursing Schools, the visitors listened to briefings on nursing education in general and on palliative care, as well as presentations describing international exchange projects conducted by students, and toured sites such as a room that reproduces home life, models of babies, and training rooms modeled on hospital rooms. The visitors appeared extremely interested in robots capable of taking pulses and measuring respirations, as well as equipment that allows students to practice sanitary tasks such as bathing babies, and they touched and examined the facilities and equipment. An exchange of ideas and opinions was held, and the visitors from the University of Nursing asked questions such as what research topics students at the Japanese schools study, whether there are exchange students attending the schools, and the student/instructor ratio. At the Itabashi Chuo Medical Center and Yokohama Asahi Chuo General Hospital, visitors were shown a comprehensive overview of the facilities, to gain an understanding of the nature of general hospitals in Japan. They toured nursing stations, emergency rooms, ICUs, radiotherapy facilities, obstetrics departments and other areas of the hospitals. When an opportunity for discussion was provided, their comments included the following impressions: "The hospitals are large and clean, and the study tour was very informative” and, “Japan's technology is outstanding, and I could see how busy the staff are.” It was apparent that the visitors took away with them an overall understanding of the facilities they had seen.
In order to show them hospital configurations other than general hospitals, the visitors were also taken to the IMS Itabashi Rehabilitation Hospital and the IMS Itabashi Health Examination Clinic. At the IMS Rehabilitation Hospital, there happened to be a patient from Myanmar, and the visitors had an opportunity to speak with the patient. We were told that the patient had been bedridden for a long period of time previous to our visit, but after speaking with the visitors from the University of Nursing, the patient burst into tears and then got up on his own and was able to sit. This unexpected development took the nursing staff by surprise. At the Clinic, the visitors were bemused at first by the concept of preventive medical care, since this is not widely practiced in Myanmar, but they observed vehicles that conduct mobile medical checkups, and we could tell that they gained a better understanding of the field of preventive care.
During the exchange project, an "Affirmation of Friendship" was concluded among the University of Nursing Yangon, Itabashi Central Nursing School, and IMS Yokohama International Nursing School. The Affirmation serves to commemorate a deeper level of exchange and understanding between the nursing schools in Japan and Myanmar, and also aims to encourage further development of friendship and cooperation between these organizations. An extremely significant aspect of this project was the success achieved in building friendly relations between nursing facilities in Japan and Myanmar, as well as the opportunity provided to better understand what the schools share in common, and how they differ. We will be delighted if our visitors from the University of Nursing Yangon can take back with them what they experienced in Japan, and use it to create a better environment for medical care in Myanmar.