Distance Study Program Towards Caregiver License Opens in Tokyo

Benigno D. Tutor, Jr.

What’s your dream job? While some may fancy something glamorous and high-income, most will describe a career that is highly in demand, is not simply a passing trend and will continue to gain value in the long run.

A career in health care that caters to Japan’s graying society certainly fits the mold to a turn. According to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, the percentage of Japanese who are 65 years old and above has topped 22 percent of total population this year. With a declining population growth, Japan simply doesn’t have enough internally generated manpower to sustain the needs of its senior citizens. Therefore, the demand for health-care workers looking after the needs of Japan’s silver citizens is foreseen to rise irreversibly.

No one is in a better position to see this than Satomi Fujimoto, director of the Japan Nursing Center, Inc. (Nihon Kaigo Senta). Having more than ten years of experience in training professional caregivers or home-helpers, Fujimoto proudly says that the Japan Nursing Center is breaking new ground by offering a caregiver correspondence school for Filipinos starting in November this year.

Having nurtured countless professional caregivers, mostly Japanese, the center’s success in training the sprinkling of foreign caregivers who have now joined Japan’s health industry workforce has emboldened it to swing its door wider to Filipinos. It is aided in this grand move by its experience in administering the practicum training of other caregiver academies catering to Filipino residents mostly in Tokyo.

In the process, it has seen the limitations of a strictly classroom-type training which requires students to be physically present at school for a fixed period of time. As a result, it has conceived of a correspondence program, lasting for three months, to accommodate those who wish to acquire Level Two Home-helper License while continuing to tend to their families or juggle part-time work. The first month of the program consists of a self-study regimen in which the trainee will study home-helper basic concepts, ethics and principles of nursing care through learning modules provided by the center. To aid their understanding of the government-standard text, an English translation of core lessons will be provided. The students will be required to submit four written reports.

The next stage is an intensive eight-day schooling at the training center in Tokyo. Students will learn the practical aspects of health care for the elderly such as feeding, body-washing, wheelchair care, toilet assistance and recreation under the tutelage of active health care professionals who are veterans in the field. During this period, supplementary English guidance will be given to the students in order to deepen their understanding of the lessons in their textbooks.

The students will then undergo practicum at affiliated health care facilities that are closest to their residence as well as home visits to elderly clients. This practicum is intended not only to give students a hands-on experience but also expose them to career choices of either institutional or individual home health care. It must be noted that Japan’s Nursing Care Insurance is addressed primarily towards individual home health care, which is more physically demanding but financially rewarding for the caregiver. Presently, 30 percent of the Japanese elderly are institutionalized while 70 percent live with their families and need assistance only for specific tasks.

After completing the curriculum, the student will be awarded a Level 2 Home-helper Graduation Certificate, which is the first rung in a three-tier nursing care career path. According to Fujimoto, the goal of this program is to help the student complete the curriculum, providing as much supplementary guidance as needed.

Fujimoto is optimistic about the career prospects of Filipinos in the health care industry, saying that the Filipinos’ sunny disposition and inborn hospitality make them effective health care workers. She hastens to add that after learning by heart the health care techniques and other practical knowledge, what matters most in this profession is the warm human relationship with the client which the Filipinos have a natural penchant for.

For more information on this program, you may call 0120-78-4125 or 03-3373-4125.