Background: A few studies have compared nursing education systems of Japan and Europe, particularly focusing on competency. Objective: We evaluated the competency of registered Japanese nurses by comparing it with that of European nurses; the implications of evaluation for the education of nurses are discussed. Design and participants: Subjects were 468 European graduate nurses and 100 Japanese nurses. Study used data from the Graduates in Knowledge Society (REFLEX) survey in Europe and the Japanese language version of REFLEX (2006) used in a survey of Japanese nurses. Methods: The questionnaire referred to the survey items of REFLEX modified for use in Japan. Items common to the Japanese and European surveys were. (1)The importance placed on university course elements while at university(2)Nineteen items of competency: for the abilities acquired in the present job ('Acquired skills') and those considered necessary to perform the job ('Required abilities on the job')(3)Usefulness of subject matter taught at university to the current job. Results: (1)The important course elements in Europe were 'Internship, work placement' and 'Lecture' while those in Japan were 'Theories and paradigms' and 'Lecture'.(2)The mean values for 'Acquired skills' were 5.06 for Europe and 3.73 for Japan and those for 'Required abilities on the job' were 4.86 for Europe and 5.16 for Japan. In Europe, no significant gap was observed between the above two scores, but in Japan, a big gap was found, particularly in relation to 'Ability to assert your authority'.(3)In terms of the usefulness of university-learned nursing education, Japan scored significantly lower on all five items. Conclusions: The content of basic university education for nursing is directly linked to the workplace in Europe but not in Japan. A comparison of competencies shows that in Japan, self-evaluation scores are low and expectations are high.
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