Career redevelopment programmes for inactive nurses in Japan

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Aims and objectives

The purpose of this paper is to examine the challenges and problems in using career redevelopment programmes and individual hospital programmes to prepare inactive nurses to re-enter into the workforce in Japan.


It is critical to supply sufficient skilled health human resources for medical care. Although, Japan has a mandatory retraining programme for supporting nurses to return to the workplace after a career break, it is unclear to what extent there are benefits to nurses from these programmes.


The research of career redevelopment programme was undertaken in three administrative divisions' nurse centres in local prefecture A, B and C. A survey of nurses participating in the programme running in T Hospital was also conducted. The issues examined were the background and motivations of participants, the length of career break, the percentages returning to work and the effectiveness of each programme.


The average age of participants was 40 years, ranging widely from the 20–60 years. Local prefecture A tended to have narrower age range than others, namely from the 30–50 years. The average period of career break was around eight years at two of three. Length of experience was quite varied from entry level to 20 or 30 years in nursing. Feedback from nurses in the case study T Hospital suggests that the most effective ways of providing support through the programme was to meet the need for continuing support, including working styles after return to work and using the resources programme in their own area of domicile.

Relevance to clinical practice

In the potential return of the nurse, the following are important: (i) job support system by using social resources effectively in the community level; and (ii) introduction of diverse working styles that take account of varying work-life balance, as well as childcare support, by using existing facilities or human resources.

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