Jaemie Lam is a BSN student. During winter quarter in 2023, she traveled to Japan as part of the Keio University Short-Term Nursing and Medical Care Studies Program to learn about challenges of an aging society. UW students attending the program were supported by the Center for Global Health Nursing and the de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging.
Why did you choose nursing?
It was a long process. I believe my interest in nursing sparked from my interactions with nurses and nurse practitioners throughout the years during my battle with atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema. Through clinics and urgent visits, I was inspired by the role of nursing as I witnessed how I received care and their role in the medical care team. So it was definitely always in the back of my mind, but I never fully considered it until recently when I started doing CNA work.
Going through UW’s program has solidified my passion for nursing because of the requirement of critical thinking skills, cultural humility, and a lifelong learning process, which are values I hold closely.
What interested you about the program?
As I was taking electives for my Public Health major at UW, I was taught that Japan had the longest life expectancy. I was intrigued to learn more about Japan’s healthcare system and their methods that result in their long-term life expectancy. Through the class, I had also learned that the US’ life expectancy is nearly not as long and I was interested in grasping experience as to why that was the case.
By immersing yourself into another country, you learn about their culture, different perspectives, and different lifestyles. I was mainly interested in this program for this reason as well. It opens up your mindset to be a better healthcare professional. In a sense, I think I learned significantly more as an exchange student in comparison to when I had solely traveled to Japan.
I also didn’t know we were going to be interacting with students from South Korea, China, and the UK. This broadened my perspectives because I got to learn from their healthcare systems as well, see how different their nursing programs are, how different their jobs are, how different their schooling is, how different their lifestyles are, and many more. It was life-changing as we applied our global health perspectives when tackling our global healthcare issues.
What was the most interesting experience during your trip?
Robo-care. The program designated a specific day where we got to learn about Japan’s most recent innovative care. It was life changing to witness how Japan incorporated artificial intelligence and robots in the form of an assistive device either on hips or extremities to provide support when lifting or ADLs. These devices could either be placed on or attached with leads. It was fascinating to see how the leads were able to control an extremity through nerve stimulation of the brain and allow the user to regain functions needed for daily living.
What was your favorite part of the program?
Definitely interacting with students from all around the world. I made lifelong friends with future nursing students from all over the world as we navigate challenges in our nursing careers together. It is comforting to know that we can rely on each other in difficult situations. As I stay in contact with them, it’s amusing to see how different our lives are, yet very similar as well. I am also very thankful to have met CJ through this program. We had not known each other prior, but we now share such core memories and experiences that I will now cherish indefinitely. I have learned a lot through my interactions with everyone and am forever grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in this short term nursing exchange program at Keio University.