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The University of Alabama

UA Nursing Students Share Culture with Japanese Scholars

Note to Editors and News Directors: A Media Availability Day will be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon March 6 in the Capstone College of Nursing’s building, located on University Boulevard across from DCH Regional Medical Center. Video and photograph opportunities include students working on life-like computer-controlled simulators, and there will be interview opportunities with students and faculty from both schools. Contact Kim Eaton, 205/348-8325 or, in advance if you plan to attend. Broadcast media should contact Shane Dorrill, 205/348-8319 or, or Bill McDaniel,205/348-8327,  

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A small group of young Japanese scholars will soon experience life as University of Alabama nursing students.

In its 15th year, the Transcultural Nursing Program, which runs from Feb. 25 through March 7, provides an opportunity for nursing students and instructors from Chiba University in Chiba, Japan, to visit the Capstone College of Nursing, participate in a classroom setting and get a feel for UA’s nursing program.

While the visit has generally been “teacher-focused and teacher-centered,” Monika Wedgeworth, coordinator of UA’s Transcultural Nursing Program, was tasked this year with creating more of a “student-focused, student-centered approach.”

“I asked myself, ‘What would I want to do if I were a 20-year-old student?’” said Wedgeworth, an instructor in the Capstone College of Nursing. “I wouldn’t want to go to a foreign country and hang out with adults.”

With that in mind, Wedgeworth worked with UA’s English Language Institute in planning a visit that would not only benefit the 14 Japanese students and two instructors, but also integrate UA students in the mix as much as possible. From attending small group dinners, shopping and cheering on the Alabama gymnastics team to participating in classroom activities and working in the nursing skills lab, the Japanese students will not only experience life as UA students, they will also share their culture with the Capstone’s students.

“My goal was to get the most positive experience for both sets of students,” said Wedgeworth.

The most exciting aspect of the program is a two-day clinical immersion, which happens near the visit’s end. The Japanese students will split into two groups and, over the course of two days, have an opportunity to work in the clinical practice lab and visit community-based clinical sites where they will shadow UA nursing students. They will not be able to practice on patients while they are here, but they will see what UA’s students are doing in the community.

“With the influx of different cultures coming to the United States, there has been a national push to increase cultural awareness throughout nursing curricula,” said Wedgeworth. “This program is a perfect opportunity for us to get hands-on with the cultural awareness thread that we’re trying to integrate into our curriculum.”

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Kim Eaton, UA media relations, 205/348-8325,
  • SOURCE: Monika Wedgeworth, Transcultural Nursing Program coordinator, 205/348-6643,