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January 31, 2005

Contact Pat Kerrigan at 796-3041 or pgkerrigan@viterbo.eduor Pat Zander at 796-3683 or


Viterbo University will host a group of ten sophomore students and two faculty from its sister university in Kagoshima, Japan for a 13 day stay to learn more about nursing and healthcare practices in the United States.

The students are from Sacred Heart University and in addition to studying Western healthcare practices, a cultural immersion experience is also planned.  The Japanese student nurses will live in the residence halls, observe clinicals and attend classes with their Viterbo student peers.

A group of faculty has been meeting for several months to plan the itinerary for the visiting students and the schedule includes clinical observations at both La Crosse area hospitals, at long-term care facilities and in several community situations, language lessons, visits to the public health department, and a demonstration of “Sim Man,” a $60,000 high tech mannequin which is computer programmed to simulate clinical situations to which students must respond with appropriate nursing interventions.

“Although this exchange brings Japanese students to Viterbo, our students will also be learning by gaining an understanding that learn from peers who are studying to realize that healthcare is practiced in different ways depending upon where you live,” said Silvana Richardson, dean of the School of Nursing. How we care for people within our healthcare systems depends very much on our cultural world view and we have much to learn from one another.”

Richardson indicated that Viterbo students are looking forward to exchanging perspectives on how western and eastern cultures address the subject of death. One session is scheduled to discuss death from a child's perspective, and another on funeral practices seen from the Japanese and American perspective.

Aside from academics, the Japanese will also be introduced to the sport of curling. Richardson and her husband Robert, provided services to the 2002 USA curling team at the 2002 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City and the couple will take the students to Centerville for a first-hand look at this unique sport. Viterbo students are eager to introduce their Japaneese peers to life on an American college campus, and have planned a number of community outings for their peers as well.

If all goes well, Richardson indicated plans are in the works to have two faculty members travel to Kagoshima as part of the ongoing exchange.

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