Soka University Nursing Student Delegation

UCSF School of Nursing Welcomes Soka University Nursing Student Delegation

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Recently, the UCSF School of Nursing(SON) welcomed Nursing Students from Soka University of Japan (SUJ). An opening ceremony featured Dean David Vlahov, RN PhD and Department Chair, Carmen Portillo RN, PhD, FAAN.  Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, who fostered peace, culture and international exchanges, founded the Soka University School of Nursing. Naturally the University’s program is based in humanistic education with a global perspective.

UCSF volunteer faculty, Gene Marie O’Connell, RN, MS, went to Japan to be the first Guest lecturer from UCSF to SUJ last May. As a follow-up to this agreement seven of the students and two professors arrived from Japan to begin a weeklong training program.  Through the guidance of Dr. Karen Duderstadt, both Drs. Beth Phoenix and Gene O’Connell organized a program so that the students and faculty could gain an understanding of UCSF SON educational programs and research while observing varied nursing methods of healthcare delivery.

The group visited San Francisco General Hospital, Laguna Honda Hospital, Department of Public Health, Progress Foundation’s Schrader house, and the new UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.  A special visit to San Francisco City Hall occurred when Supervisor Malia Cohen of the District 10, presented a Certificate of Honor that acknowledged the meaningful visit of the Soka Students to UCSF SON.

Touring the program sites demonstrated how knowledge, skills and expertise gained at UCSF SON could translate into excellence in nursing and health care delivery. The SUJ students were able to meet for lunch meetings with UCSF SON students.  Also, the Alpha Eta Chapter (AEC) of Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) hosted a reception at the home of AEC board member Elizabeth Halifax RN, PhD so they could meet with current and future nursing leaders.  These small groups allowed for true international exchange of thoughts and concerns. The SUJ students each had a topic ranging from child abuse to palliative care. At the end of reception, Alpha Eta’s President, Therese Doan RN, PhD, welcomed the students and professors to join our chapter as international members.

At the conclusion of the training program each student presented a ten-minute presentation of their topic of interest incorporating what they had learned from their training. One student commented on the effect of seeing diversity at UCSF, “I was most impressed by the acceptance of diversity. Japan is an island and difference is not embraced. Here I felt accepted—Americans accept diversity. Now I understand how important it is to adjust our care based on the culture of the patient.” Another student was very impressed by UCSF’s conscious effort to have interprofessional groups and for different disciplines to work together.  The student said, “collaboration is so important.  We witnessed a team approach to patients and how much nurses are given power to improve patient care.”

Through this program, the UCSF SON engaged in global outreach and influenced future nursing leaders. Even during their short time here, the students were tremendously appreciative and felt supported in our community.  One student commented, “people kept telling us, ‘You are the leaders of the future.’ I was surrounded by people who believe in my potential. This training course has motivated me to study and achieve.”  Of course, after their visit all of the students want to return UCSF SON to attend graduate school.  In June, Dr. Beth Phoenix will be a guest lecturer at SUJ.