The official website of Osaka Prefecture University
May 2011 Features "New & Unique"
In the midst of a worldwide boom in medical tourism, Japan expects to lure tourists from overseas countries to its medical facilities for years to come.
In 2010, the School of Comprehensive Rehabilitation, in collaboration with a major English communication school started a new program called "The Strengthening of English Communication Ability Program." It is for senior students who aim to become medical specialists, such as physical therapists.
In the class, students and a native English teacher sent from the English school play the roles of patients and caregivers in turn, and learn useful words and phrases to deal with a variety of situations in English - such as assisting patients when they take meals, making them feel relaxed when they need emotional support, and livening up a birthday party at hospital.
"This meal is too terrible to eat!" "I am not turning off the TV to sleep!" the patient (a native teacher) cries out. This was part of the lesson on learning how to cope with complaints and requests from a demanding patient in English.
"The lesson is very practical and helpful. I also learned focusing too much on speaking English without smiling will make patients uneasy. We will be able to make the best use of this experience," says a senior student.
Medical specialists who can give explanations on diagnosis and treatments to overseas patients without medical interpreters are high in demand.
Masahide Imaki, Dean of the School of Comprehensive Rehabilitation says, "Contrary to the fact that the needs and demand are increasing, Japan is way behind on globalization in the medical field. We can now offer students what it takes to be a medical specialist who can give quality care to any patient in the world."