Aging Nations Look to Vietnam to Fill Nursing Gap
September 10, 2013
HANOI, VIETNAM — Two countries with the world’s oldest populations, Japan and Germany, are training geriatric nurses in Vietnam to help fill critical health care gaps at home.
This month, 100 young Vietnamese are heading to Germany as part of a new project to train geriatric nurses for work in the European country. The trainees have just finished a six-month language and culture course in Hanoi, and they will spend the next two years in a vocational training program. If they pass the final exam, they can work in Germany as fully qualified geriatric nurses.
One of them, 24-year-old Huong Thi Thi, said she is excited about the move. “In Germany there is modern medicine and nursing. In Vietnam, particularly caring for the elderly, is very new. I want to come to Germany to gain more knowledge and experience in caring for the elderly.”
Germany is Europe’s biggest economy, but it is facing a demographic crisis as low birth rates combine with longer life spans. More than one fifth of the population is older than 65, and that percentage is expected to increase in the coming years.
As a result, the number of elderly people needing care is expected to increase by more than a million in 2030, according to the German international development agency, GIZ.
Dominik Ziller, GIZ’s director of general migration, said, “We know we have a lack of qualified workforce in the health sector today, and we also know that in our aging German society the number of people who will need these caregivers and nurses and geriatric nurses will increase dramatically.”
By contrast, 60 per cent of Vietnam’s population was born after the war in 1975 and the country falls short of employing its entire potential workforce. Most children are expected to look after their parents, or parents-in-law at home when they get old.
The pilot project is not a quick-fix solution, and the project is still in the early stages so its success cannot be gauged yet, said Ziller. One potential problem, however, could be the language barrier.
“It’s more difficult for someone speaking Vietnamese to learn German than somebody speaking another European language with similar grammar. We know our young people who have undergone language training here will need additional language training,” he said.
Japan's aging population
It’s a problem that Japan, the fastest aging country in the world, also is facing when training foreign nurses. Later this year for the first time 150 Vietnamese candidates will go to the East Asian country for two year’s training at Japanese hospitals, after which they will sit for the national nursing exam.
Japan already trains nurses from the Philippines and Indonesia, but the system has come under criticism for being too strict. All applicants must take the same exam in Japanese, but it is very difficult for foreign candidates because of the language barrier, said Yoko Tsuruya, first secretary at the Japanese embassy in Hanoi.
She said foreign nationals are given some help, though, to complete the test. For example, they are given more time, and Japanese words are transliterated into international pronunciation.
To improve the training system, instead of continuing their language courses when they arrive in Japan, as nursing candidates from other countries currently do, the Vietnamese trainees will go straight to their hospital placement and combine language studies with practical experience.
Despite Japan’s rapidly aging population, admitting foreign workers for some industries remains controversial. Critics say foreign labor could lead to lower standards of work or increase unemployment.
However, there is little opposition to the intake of nurses.
Tsuruya said not many people have opportunities to pass the nursing exam, so the opposition against this kind of program is less than the opposition to labor.
Despite Vietnam’s youthful population, rapid urbanization has led to demographic changes of its own. Changing lifestyles means fewer people choose to look after their elderly parents at home. Trainee nurse Huong said that in the future, she thinks Vietnam will need more hospitals for the elderly, but said learning the skills abroad can help Vietnamese people develop this sector for themselves.
geriatric (a) 老年人的，老年病學的XXXXX*注意發音：
vocational (a) 職業的
這個字常會跟 vacation 「假期」搞混了。vacation的字首 vaca- 語意上有「免除、離開」之意，vaca- 相關的字有： vacate (v) 「離職」，vacant (a) 「空缺的」( 飛機上廁所的燈號常用這個字表示沒人，顯示 occupied 則是有人 )，vacancy (n) 「職缺，空位」，vacation (n) 「假期」( 暫時離開工作崗位、職務 )。發音上，兩者也是可以區別的，注意第一音節的母音發音方式：vocation ，vacation 。
demographic (a) 人口的，人口統計學的
為當上在歐洲的老人照護士 (geriatric nurse) ，這個月將有百位越南青年前往 (head to . . .)德國，做為訓練計畫的一部份。受訓者 (trainess) 在河內 (Hanoi) 已完成了六個月的語言和文化課程，接下的兩年將是職訓課程 (vocational training program)。只要通過最後的考試，便能在德國作為有合格證照的 (qualified) 老年照護士。
德國是歐洲最大的經濟體 (Europe’s biggest economy)，但低出生率 (low birth rates) 加上平均壽命延長 (longer life span)，現正面臨人口結構的危機 (demographic crisis)。有五分之一的人口在65歲以上，而且在未來幾年 (in the coming years) ，預計老年人的人口比率仍會繼續增加。
workforce (n) 人力；勞動力
sector (n) (經濟學上的)產業，部門
gauge (v) 測量，估計XXXXXX*注意發音：
barrier (n) 障礙，阻礙
sit for (v phr) 應試 (國家考試、證照考試等)
別的國家面臨人口老化與勞動力不足之際，相較之下 (by contrast)，越南百分之六十的人口在1975年戰後出生，但因為國內需求短缺，越南反而無法完全 (fall short of . . .) 雇用其潛在勞動力。
這次首辦的試驗性計畫 (pilot project)並非只是急就章的應急方案 (a quick-fix solution)。目前仍屬初創階段 (early stages)，成功與否還難以評斷 (gauge)，但可見得的問題是語言障礙 (language barrier)。
transliterate (v) 音譯，直譯
transliterate 跟 translate「翻譯」不一樣。翻譯是指把一個語言所表達出的意義換成另一個語言去展示出來，目的是求意義能夠被另一個語言的人士所瞭解。音譯是將某一語言的發音用另一套文字標示，未觸及語意的翻譯。舉例來說，"E-mail" 這單字翻成「伊媚兒」跟「電子郵件」，就是音譯與翻譯的差別。新聞中說，外籍人士考日本的護理考試時，考卷上「日文字會音譯成國際標準音 (international pronunciation)」，這裡大概指的就是把日文寫成羅馬拼音，所以考生可能讀不懂、看不懂日文字，但懂得日語語法，只要會「聽和說」，仍然可以靠讀音的方式來應考。
placement (n) 人員配置；工作分發
admit (v) 允許進入
urbanization (n) 都市化
日本在菲律賓和印尼的護士訓練系統，因為過於嚴苛而被批評 (under criticism)。有興趣的應徵者 (applicant) 必須通過與日本本國一樣的測驗，但語言障礙讓考試對於來外籍的工作人選 (candidate) 來說非常困難。日本駐河內使館 (embassy) 的人員表示，有其它協助來讓外國籍人士 (foreign nationals) 完成考試，像是延長應試時間，日文字也音譯成國際通用發音。
雖然日本的人口快速老化 (rapidly aging population)，對於一些產業來說，許可進用 (admit) 外籍勞工仍是有爭議的。持反對意見的批評者 (critic) 認為，外籍勞工可能會降低工作水準，或是增加失業率，但對引進 (intake) 護理人員是幾乎沒有異議、沒有反對意見的 (there is little opposition to . . .)。日本外交人員表示，因為沒有太多人能有機會通過這個護理考試，所以相較於勞工，這個計畫所遭受的反對就比較少。
第一個最常見的意思就是「接受事實」或「坦誠錯誤」，後面可以直接加 that子句或是 V-ing/N 的結構，例如“We must admit that she is our best employee.” (我們必須承認她是我們最好的員工。) “She admitted that she stole my wallet.” “She admitted stealing my wallet.” (她承認/坦誠偷了我的錢包。) “He admitted his errors.” (他承認他的錯誤。) 這種結構也有 admit to V-ing/N 的寫法，意思差不多。
第二個意思就如本新聞中的「許可進入」意思，但可分成很具體的「進入某個場所」，或是比較抽象的「可以進入、加入某種群體」，相關的用法有「入學許可、住院、入會」。例句：”This ticket will admit one adult to the show.” (這張票允許一個成人進入秀場。) “I just got admitted to NTU!” (我得到臺大的入學許可了!) "We'll have to vote on whether or not to admit a new member." (我們必須投票來決定是否新增會員。) 由這個動詞意思變成名詞 admission 時，也有「入學」跟「門票費用」兩種用法。
同學要申請學校時，入學資料跟申請辦法可以在學校網站找到，“admissions policy/ procedures” (入學政策/申請入學程序)，負責處理申請和審件的是 “admissions officer” (甄選委員)。要注意，用做「入學申請」時，常用複數，但當「門票費用」的時候是不可數名詞：”The admission is one dollar.”(門票收一元。) “The cost includes free admission to the casinos.” (這筆金額包含免費進入賭場。) 指「門票費用」時也常跟其它費用有關的字做搭配語：”admission charge/ admission fee/ admission price”，例句：”The Museum has no admission charge.” (這博物館不收門票費用。)
Check your vocabulary!
Fill in the blanks with a word or phrase from the list above. Make necessary changes. After you finish, select the text below to reveal the hidden answers.
1. Cook began his cost-cutting campaign by getting rid of a third of his workforce.
2. Only ticket-holders will be admitted into the stadium.
3. More students than ever before sat for their law examinations this year.
4. Geriatric hospitals are often severely under-staffed.
5. The thermostat will gauge the temperature and control the heat.
6. Problems with childcare remain the biggest barrier to women succeeding at work.