Japanese academic praises midwifery programme
Japanese Professor visiting midwifery students (L-R) midwifery lecturer Mrs Heather Hopper ,Shizuko Angerhofer visiting from Iwate Prefectural University School of Nursing, Japan, Susannah Hart and student representative Sarah Cartwright

A Japanese midwifery academic who recently visited Plymouth University has praised students and staff alike for their ‘excellent’ work.

Shizuko Angerhofer, from Iwate Prefectural University’s School of Nursing, visited the institution earlier this month to observe how it teaches midwifery, and discuss with students the differences between the English and Japanese health education systems. 

She explained that Japanese students have to train for just over a year to become a midwife after training in general nursing first, which is different from the three-year midwifery programmes offered in England. But she added that the emphasis on clinical practice was equally as high.

At Plymouth, 55 per cent of the midwifery course is spent at placements, dealing with real-life situations, while, in Japan, students are required to assist with at least ten births during the course of their study. 

Shizuko added that Japan and England are facing similar issues in declining birth rates, due to women settling down later in life than before, but that Plymouth was excellent in identifying employment opportunities for its students. 

Shizuko was given a full tour of the main campus in Plymouth City Centre and met a number of staff and students, commenting on the outstanding teaching practice and friendly atmosphere the institution provides.

“It’s really been a wonderful experience,” she said. “And I wish I could spend more than one week in Plymouth. “It’s been very interesting to learn more about how midwifery is taught at Plymouth, and seeing how the staff teach and how the students put the teaching into practice is excellent. I’ve got so much positive feedback for my colleagues at Iwate Prefectural, and it would be great to link up with Plymouth moving forward.”

Suzannah Hart, Lecturer in Midwifery, said: 

“It’s been a pleasure to host Shizuko and give her a full overview of the midwifery course. It was also great to hear about the Japanese education system and the similarities between what is offered there and over here. On the day of Shizuko’s visit, we actually had some applicants for next year attend for interview, and she was kind enough to meet some of them to help them relax. We pride ourselves on our excellent work, both practical and academic, so it was wonderful for a visitor in a similar field to praise what we do.”

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