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Nursing Journeys Vol. 14 – Aiko Miyazaki

VOL. 14 | Aiko Miyazaki – NURSING JOURNEYS

How learning a new language led her from Japan, then to the Philippines and later to a new life in Canada.

When Aiko was 13 years old, she decided to be a nurse inspired from visiting the Florence Nightingale Museum in London, UK while vacationing with her family. Since then she never changed her mind and pursued her dreams becoming a registered nurse and working for three years in the surgical ward (Orthopedics, Urology, Gynecology, and plastic surgery) at a university hospital in Chiba, Japan. She enjoyed her life there and on her days off, spent her leisure time at Tokyo Disneyland, shopping in Tokyo and on occasion going back to her hometown Sapporo to see her family and old friends. 

Aiko never thought about working as a nurse overseas because she could not speak English. In Japan, English classes are mandatory for six years but mainly focus on reading and listening. Since Japan is a monocultural country, many people only use Japanese in their daily life. Most patients were Japanese and communicated in their language. However, one day Aiko had to take care of a patient who came from another country and spoke only English. Communicating with the patient was a struggle and Aiko needed some help from doctors to interpret the patients needs. Furthermore in 2016, Tokyo would host the Olympics and so it was expected more visitors from overseas would be visiting and speaking English would be a more important skill. 

Aiko then decided to be a nurse who would be able to speak English to help patients who were not able to speak Japanese in Japan. First, she went to the Philippines to brush up her English, studying 10 hours every day for six months and later came to Vancouver, Canada. 

Aiko wanted to study medical terminology in English and enrolled into OMNI College by recommendation of a study abroad agency. It was challenging to keep up with the courses taught, compared to her classmates (who were mainly from the Philippines and India) whose English was much more advanced. Thanks to the emotional support from classmates and instructors, she was able to complete the Medical English Terminology class and then the Canadian Nursing Review program.

While studying at OMNI College, Aiko never gave up, always pursuing her career as a nurse even with its challenges and making life changing decisions. 

The most challenging part of becoming a nurse in Canada was meeting language proficiency. Aiko took the IELTS 20 times! But again, she never gave up. In March 2021, The Nursing Association of New Brunswick (NANB) changed their language policy for internationally Educated Nurses. That decision had a big impact as she was able to meet the language proficiency scores by submitting working experience as a home support worker and transcript from OMNI College, plus her best IELTS score overall 7.0. Aiko was then invited to attempt the NCLEX-RN and successfully passed on her first try in September 2021! 

Currently, Aiko has been working as a Registered Nurse in the orthopedics ward at a hospital in Moncton, New Brunswick for over a year. Moncton is a city on the east coast of Canada. Aiko feels that the people are very sweet and kind, and the city is surrounded by nature and the ocean.  She is happy and comfortable there. Aiko was able to take a deep breath and reflect on her accomplishment more when one of her coworkers told her that “you are doing very well! You came to a new country, learning a completely new language. Be kind with yourself, you are adapting wonderfully.” 

Aiko is grateful to live and work as a nurse in Canada!

Where there is a will, there is always a way.

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