Graduate School Overview
Graduate Education at OUNHS
The mission of our Graduate School is to play a leading role in the advancement of excellence in education, research, and community service in nursing, and to promote the health and well-being of society through research and cooperation with the community, local health service agencies and the local government. Our faculty is educating and training autonomous nurses, public health nurses and midwives with advanced practical and decision making skills. The goal of the Master’s program, established in 2002, is to produce advanced professional nurses and midwives to take leadership roles in nursing practice and to train and educate nurses who are able to utilize research methodology to identify health issues, gather evidence and discover solutions. The goal of the doctoral program, established in 2004, is to educate and develop researchers and professionals of nursing science.
Because of our rapidly declining birthrate, aging society and inadequate number of physicians in rural areas, we are working to educate and train nursing professionals with advanced diagnostic and practical skills and the ability to collaborate with other medical, healthcare and welfare professionals to address these societal problems. In Japan, public health nursing and midwifery are separate and completely independent nursing occupations and the Act on Public Health Nurses, Midwives, and Nurses (Nursing Act) stipulates that all professionals must first have licensure as a registered nurse in order to acquire independent national licensure as a public health nurse or midwife. However, we believe that the standards of the past are inadequate to meet the needs of our present societal conditions, so we believe it is essential to improve the quality of public health nursing and midwifery education and training by conducting them in Master’s courses with increased curricula and practicums.
Therefore, our university was the first in Japan to establish a Master’s degree public health nurse course in 2011 and we educate our students to become public health nurses exclusively in our graduate school. As our two-year course greatly exceeds the one-year course term that the Nursing Act stipulates for all training courses, it allows us to fulfill our mission of educating and training autonomous public health nurses with advanced practical and decision making skills based on research methodology, who are partners in the health prevention of the local community.
In addition, we have also educated our students to become midwives exclusively in our graduate school since 2011. We introduced a new midwifery curriculum in 2012 of fifty-eight credits with thirty Master’s credits including eighteen midwifery specialized credits added to the twenty-eight credits stipulated by the Nursing Act. Our two-year Master’s degree Midwifery course also greatly exceeds the one-year course term that the Nursing Act stipulates for undergraduate and other courses. The mission of our midwifery Master’s course is to expand the scope of activity and social importance of midwifery activities in Japan.
In 2008, we transformed our Master’s program by introducing practice-oriented education in our newly established nurse practitioner (NP) major, which was the first graduate school program for NPs in Japan. Our educational model for the NP was adopted from the United States. In 2014, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare introduced a new training system by amending the Nursing Act. This will allow the accreditation of highly qualified nurses to practice in primary care facilities in the future. The mission of our NP course is to educate and train advanced practice nurses who can alleviate the strain on local health care systems caused by the insufficiency of physicians in rapidly aging local areas.
In 2009, a Health Sciences Master’s major was established in the following six areas: Health Physiology, Environmental Health Science, Physical Fitness and Sports Sciences, Radiological Health, Health Informatics and Biostatistics, and Mental Health. A Health Sciences PhD major was also established in 2009. Our goal is to promote advanced research in medical, healthcare and welfare professionals other than nurses and midwives. In 2013, a Recurrent Course was also established in our Master’s program for working nurses who want to advance their careers without having to relinquish their employment and receive advanced professional education about the latest advances in nursing research and practice, along with training and education on the utilization of research methodology for identifying health issues, gathering evidence and discovering solutions.