Govt. asks nursing colleges to send students

Japan's health ministry has asked nursing colleges across the country to send students and staff with nursing licenses to hospitals.

The call comes as medical institutions around Japan struggle with a shortage of nurses due to a resurgence in coronavirus infections.

The shortage is also affecting their capacity to provide regular medical services.

The health ministry has asked about 280 colleges and universities with nursing programs to dispatch graduate students and teaching staff who are certified nurses. They will work at hospitals and facilities that are accepting coronavirus patients.

Students and staff are being asked to sign up at "nurse centers," designated by each prefecture. The centers will assign them to medical institutions based on their availability and preferences. They will be paid by hospitals or by prefectures.

Health ministry officials said the nation's medical system is under more pressure than ever and is entering a critical stage in some areas.

They said they understand schools involved in nursing education are also going through a tough time, but their cooperation is needed.