Nurses Return to work to support nurses working on the frontline

Submitted by Japanese Nursing Association
June 23, 2020

Japanese Nursing Association has been working to ensure enough nursing professions at every settings in face of COVID-19 outbreak. The day after the Government declared the State of Emergency, JNA sent email to about 50,000 nurses asking for return to profession. In response, we received the message from nurses wishing to return to work and Prefectural Nurse Centers, operating free of charge job placement services, received many inquiries from nurses, hospitals and facilities and others.

There had been 2,871 job seekers and 1,531 job offers. 948 nurses out of 1,503 nurses referred to facilities and hospital found employment as of June 16, 2020.

Prefectural Nurse Centers provide job matching carefully but quickly with considering the experiences of nurses who wish to return to work. They support nurses providing training program including infection control lecture and practice before going back to job so that nurses can return to work with safe and secure feeling.

In order to support nurses on the frontline, JNA works closely with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Nurse Centers and Prefectural Nursing Association to ensure securement of nurses. There is concern over the second and the third wave of the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to provide careful job matching so as not to occur the gap between job seekers and job offering facilities and to provide training before returning to work.

The following are some examples of nurses returned to work.

Supporting nurses at the hospital

The Fukui prefectural hospital assigned many of their nurses to respond patients with COVID-19. This made great burden on nurses working at the wards not responding to COVID-19 patients. To respond the situation, prefectural Nurse Center asked for nurses currently not working, who left job relatively recently, to return to work.

The nurse who just retired this March, knowing the difficult situation at the prefectural hospital, registered for the nurse center to apply for employment. She was immediately employed at the prefectural hospital as a part-time staff. She now takes the role of triage at the entrance including checking patients and visitors for fever. As a member of nursing team, she works to prevent from the occurrence of the cluster within the hospital and provides nurses with firm support at the hospital.

Immediate response to opening and operation of accommodation facilities for mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 patients commissioned by Osaka prefectural government 

Japanese Government set its policy that mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 patients to be stayed at hotel or other accommodation facilities where nurses were staffed. This setting up the accommodation facilities was one of important policies to secure health care delivery system and prefectural governments needed immediate response.  Osaka Prefecture commissioned Osaka Nursing Association to provide healthcare management at the accommodation facilities in Osaka. Osaka Nursing Association recruited nurses to take the role through Osaka Nurse Center. About 200 nurses who were not currently working registered for the job and Osaka Nursing Association employed 81 nurses as part-time staff. They take the role of healthcare management and infection control of users of the accommodation facilities as well as nursing work at three PCR testing centers.

Working at the accommodation facility for mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 patients after leaving job for a year and preparing for the second and third wave.

A nurse who returned to work is contributing to set the care delivery system for users of the accommodation facility for mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 patients since the establishment of the facility.

The nurse who used to be a nurse manager left job a year before. She saw the hospital situation caring for COVID-19 patients on TV and then registered for nurse center to seek job. She felt that young nurses might have anxiety, and this was a time for her to return to practice as she finished child rearing. Since May 2nd, she takes two shifts work and provides care for mildly ill. She thinks that they need to establish a solid system of care in the accommodation facilities to prepare for the second and third waves. She believes that stable care at the accommodation facilities will lighten the burden of frontline nurses who work at the frontlines of the hospital.

Supporting and contributing for younger nurses working at the front line. A nurse returns to practice after three-year interval

The COVID-19 cluster occurred at hospitals as well as social welfare facilities. In Hiroshima, two nurses who returned to work are actively working at the social welfare facilities which cluster occurred. A nurse who retired three years ago registered for the nurse center to seek job. She saw nurses actively working at the front line responding COVID-19 on TV and thought that she wanted to contribute as younger nurses were fighting for it. She was employed as part-time staff of Hiroshima prefecture. She works from Monday to Friday since April 27. Wearing protective suites and providing care to residents at facilities. She also supports mental health of staff who have anxiety including possibility of getting infected.


About Nurse Centers

Nurse Centers were established based on the “Act on Assurance of Work Forces of Nurses and Other Medical Experts (the Act),” which was enacted in 1992. Nurse Centers consist of the “Central Nurse Center” and the “Prefectural Nurse Centers.” The “Central Nurse Center” is operated by the JNA, under designation by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. The “Prefectural Nurse Centers” are operated by Prefectural Nursing Associations, under designation by the Governors of the Prefectures.

The “Central Nurse Center” manages and operates the free-of-charge job placement website (called e-Nurse Center), and undertakes service focused on providing support for the Prefectural Nurse Centers. In the meantime, the “Prefectural Nurse Centers” utilize information from the Central Nurse Center, and operate free-of-charge job placement service for nurses (called nurse bank service) as measures for recruiting nursing professionals, leveraging their strength to be located in each of the 47 prefectures. The two types of Nurse Centers operate their service through detailed two-way cooperation.