The TOMODACHI J&J Disaster Nursing Training Program: Nine Disaster Nursing Students Take Their First Steps as Leaders of the Next Generation through Pre-Trip Seminars
From June 24 – 25 and July 8 – 9, the TOMODACHI J&J Disaster Nursing Training Program Pre-Trip Seminars took place in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture. Nine nursing students from Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures participated.
Now in its third year, the TOMODACHI J&J Disaster Nursing Training Program is a seven-month program that consists of Pre-Trip Seminars, a U.S. Study Tour, Post-Trip Seminars, and a Post-Trip Symposium. The Pre-Trip Seminars were conducted for a total of four days as part of preparations for the U.S. Study Tour scheduled in August. During the Seminars, the participants reflected on their experiences in the Great East Japan Earthquake, deepened their understanding of the disaster, and learned from experts in the field of disaster medicine, including nurses from the U.S. The participants also shared their experiences and enhanced their knowledge of disaster medicine.
At the first Pre-Trip Seminar, everyone involved in the program gathered in the same place for the first time. On the first day, the participants deepened their understanding of the program and its purpose, and clarified what they set out to achieve and learn from the program. Three alumni who participated in the program last year also joined, and shared what they accomplished and learned during the program. The participants also rehearsed speeches they had prepared for the U.S. Study Tour and received feedback from the alumni. They additionally attended lectures by Mr. Shinichi Egawa from the International Cooperation for Disaster Medicine of Tohoku University and deepened their knowledge and understanding of disaster medicine and disaster nursing.
On the second day, the participants traveled to Minamisanriku and Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture, where they visited the original site of Okawa Elementary School before it was destroyed by the tsunami. In Minamisanriku, the participants met with Mr. Seietsu Sato, who was the deputy fire chief of the Minamisanriku fire department at the time of the disaster. Mr. Sato, despite losing his wife in the tsunami, provided round-the-clock rescue service after the disaster. Using pictures and videos from the earthquake and tsunami, Mr. Sato lectured about disaster medicine and disaster nursing. After the lecture, Mr. Sato showed the participants around Minamisanriku, while comparing the current condition of the town to the condition at the time of the disaster. At Okawa Elementary School in Ishinomaki, the participants met with Mr. Toshiro Sato, who lost his son in the tsunami. Mr. Sato also gave detailed descriptions of the school building, and the participants learned information they would not normally receive from the media. The stories from both Mr. Seietsu Sato and Mr. Toshiro Sato were emotionally compelling, and the participants listened attentively while shedding tears. The participants have different disaster experiences, but through these site visits, everyone shared the same understanding of and sentiments towards the Great East Japan Earthquake.
At the second Pre-Trip Seminar, the participants continued preparing for the U.S. Study Tour with Mr. Kenta Umetsu and Ms. Emily Dorosz from the Children’s National Health System, which implements the U.S. Study Tour portion of the program.
On the first day, the participants took part in a workshop with disaster-preparedness scenario games, and brushed up on their speeches. Based on their pre-program essays, they clarified what they plan to learn and achieve, and had many discussions with their mentors to define their vision and direction.
On the second day, the participants learned about the schedule for the U.S. Study Tour, site visit locations, and a general overview of the fields of nursing and medicine in the U.S. The participants particularly enjoyed learning about the nursing and medical systems in the U.S., which are very different from those in Japan. By learning about each site visit location, they were able to get a better understanding of the U.S. Study Tour.
Through the two Pre-Trip Seminars, the participants took their first steps as next generation leaders who will forge the future of disaster nursing. The participants traveled to the U.S. and visited New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., from August 6 – 20, and will participate in the Post-Trip Seminars and Post-Trip Symposium after having returned to Japan.