Kazuma Honda MACN (Kaz) is an Australian College of Nursing (ACN) Emerging Nurse Leader (ENL) Program participant currently completing Stage 5 Empowered to Lead.
Since commencing in the ENL program in 2018, Kaz has always expressed his desire to create a bridge between Japanese and Australian nurses. His desire is so strong that in May this year, Kaz embarked on a two-week cultural exchange to Japan where he met with Japanese dignitaries including Ministers of Parliament and key leaders of their health care system. Kaz met and spoke with Japanese University students, Academics and was profiled on local radio. With his intention to educate, inform and connect Kaz exemplifies all that it means to be an ENL, his passion and commitment to the profession is to be commended. Kaz is a wonderful example of the calibre of participants we attract in this program and it gives me great confidence that the future of nursing is in great hands. Kaz, it has been a remarkable journey and one that I feel fortunate to have shared with you.
Our Communications Team recently caught up with Kaz to find out all about the incredible adventures he undertook during his two weeks in Japan. Well done Kaz, your story is truly inspiring.
– Stef Dosen — ACN Emerging Nurse Leader Program Coordinator
- What motivated you to undertake a cultural exchange to Japan?
I wanted to spread the word of ACN and Nursing Now plus discuss educational opportunities for Japanese nurses to further their study in Australia. I also wanted to get information about possible international partnerships between Australia and Japan, even in the area of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
- Briefly describe your trip itinerary?
I spent just over 2 weeks in Japan, landing firstly in Tokyo where I spent almost one week. Over the course of my trip I travelled across to Osaka (Western Japan) and then Nagoya (Central Japan). In total I visited 20 different universities and hospitals giving seminars on nursing in Australia and ACN and was also interviewed on radio.
- How did the ENL program prepare your for the trip?
The trip wouldn’t have been possible without the ENL program. It has equipped me with the knowledge and know-how required to undertake such a trip. It has enabled me to develop my leadership skills and partnered me up with mentors and other nurse leaders who have given me a wealth of knowledge and brought out the confidence in me to pursue more out of nursing. The support of my mentor and fellow ACN and NursingNow members has been 100% invaluable.
- What can Australian nurses learn from Japanese nurses?
Both Japan and Australia have one thing in common, we are both facing an ageing population. Nurses in both countries would agree that this area of nursing requires a lot of ongoing support now and into the future. One facility I visited was using AI technology in order to maximise patient’s conditions before being discharged. Being able to use such technology to assist in patient care is something I think can benefit Australian nurses.
[The ENL program] has enabled me to develop my leadership skills and partnered me up with mentors and other nurse leaders who have given me a wealth of knowledge and brought out the confidence in me.
- What was the key highlight of your trip?
There were so many highlights! The welcome I received from each and every place I visited was incredible, as was being able to share my story and getting to know more about nursing in Japan.
It was an absolute honour to meet Ms Mieko Takagai (the State Minister for the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare & House of Councillors) and Mr Masahiro Ishida (House of Councillors, Liberal Democratic Party and Voice of the people, Japan). I was privileged to be able to discuss with them how ACN supports nurses in Australia as well as the importance of global nursing leadership and the global NursingNow campaign.
One student even approached me and said “after listening to you I realised I didn’t make the wrong choice to be a nurse”. This was extremely encouraging and rewarding to hear.
- What was the most rewarding moment of the cultural exchange?
Being able to give seminars to students who were engaged and interested in what I had to say regarding nursing in Australia and some of the differences noted was for me very rewarding. I was able to get a sense of their enthusiasm and afterwards some students even mentioned that they felt not only inspired, but also moved by what I had to say. One student even approached me and said “after listening to you I realised I didn’t make the wrong choice to be a nurse”. This was extremely encouraging and rewarding to hear.
Another gratifying experience of my trip was the chance to work towards possible future collaborations between Australia and Japan and the possibility of Japanese nurses visiting Australia on a nursing cultural exchange.
- What information would you give to Australian nurses thinking about a cultural exchange?
I think Australian nurses would certainly be surprised about the differences in working conditions regarding time off and required overtime. At the same time I believe they could have a really great time and learn a lot about another culture. One thing that always stands out for me in Japan is the attention to detail in everything. Whether it be the level of attention and customer service given in a shop to the idea of always thinking ahead and trying to anticipate what people need or require. The idea of putting others’ needs ahead of your own (for everything) and the importance of keeping harmony within the group (which is called ‘Wa’) I feel is uniquely Japanese and certainly something I think any non-Japanese person would notice once there. Japanese people not only take a great deal of pride in what they do, but they always strive to go above and beyond and this becomes infectious, pushing you to do the same.