By: Mats Christianses, Nurse, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society
For three days in late April, I had the opportunity to visit University College Dublin (UCD) and their School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems via the ERASMUS+ staff mobility programme. Previously, I had been writing letters of recommendation for students I had mentored who visited UCD, but this was my first time there myself. Additionally, his was my first visit to Dublin and the Emerald Isle.
From the start the faculty at the hosting institution were welcoming and gave me hints and ideas on how to make this the most valuable trip as possible for me. Since my visit would coincide with the students’ finals period, it was decided to make this a staff mobility visit instead of a teachers exchange. My date for the visit was partially timed with another conference in gerontology and geriatrics held in Dublin the week before.
The campus is fairly new built in its present Belfield location and hosts many different faculties and trainings.
During my visit I was joining Dr Amanda Phelan who is an expert in gerontology and in particular elder abuse. It was good to meet someone so passionate and knowledgeable in this area of research that far too often is swept under the carpet, and few want to talk about. Further I got the opportunity to participate in a COST meeting (COST IS1402) that related to agism that was held at UCD with Dr Phelan as the host. This COST project is managed by Prof. Liat Ayalon, Ph.D., Louis and Gabi Weisfeld School of Social Work, Bar Ilan University, Israel.
This meeting allowed for even more networking and forming new contacts with other researchers in the filed of gerontology and aging within other disciplines like sociology, policy, psychology, occupational therapy, and architecture.
At UCD I also met other nursing researchers in the field of oncology (which is my PhD research area), and to learn about ways they are aiming to help their patients improve their health with the help of technology.
My own teaching during the visit was a public seminar about HIV and aging. The seminar drew a score of people; academics, clinicians, policy makers but also longterm survivors, living with HIV/AIDS. Particularly the latter group was newer to me to present my research to, but it was very powerful to have the transferability from a San Francisco, California context happen, and to have the results resonate with men in Dublin.
Next time, I would like to be there at a time when I was given the chance to interact with students, and to learn about their experiences. Particularly it would be good have the exchange happen when students from KI are visiting.