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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

Supporting Japanese Nurses

Published March 21, 2011 4:24 PM by Robin Hocevar

When I first learned of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan, my first heart skipped a beat, thinking of my two cousins, uncle and aunt living in Tokyo. Fortunately, a Facebook "we're okay" status update quickly put those immediate concerns to rest.

With my family accounted for and safe -at least for the time being-I began wondering about some of the Japanese healthcare workers I've encountered over the years as regional editor at ADVANCE.  As a nationality, the Japanese have made outstanding contributions to worldwide hospital quality.

For instance, I attended Mercy Hospital's Knowledge Sharing Day in Janesville, WI, along with a contingent of 10 Japanese business and healthcare administrators, including nurse  Shin-Urayasu Toranamon. The event was designed as a brainstorming session for recent Baldridge-winning Mercy to share best practices with the international visitors.

Beyond Six Sigma, the Japanese quality contribution ripples throughout the U.S. In Des Moines, IA, Iowa Methodist Medical Center recently participated in a Gemba visit to demonstrate frontline nurses using technology to eliminate inefficiencies. In Japanese, Gemba means the place where value is added.

Of course with  reports of 8,277 dead, 12,722 missing and approximately $235 billion in damage to Japan, it's critical to do more than pay homage to the stellar contributions of the Japanese people to healthcare. The American Nurses Association organized a fundraising campaign to support Japanese Nursing Association members who are victims of the disaster. I'll definitely be sending them the money I'd ordinarily spend on lattes this week. To donate online, visit and type Japan in the comment section.

The authorities are reporting that financial assistance goes farthest right now but eventually the call will go out for on-site relief workers. Do any of you have hopes or plans to help with the relief effort?


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