By: Britt-Britt-Marie Bernhardson, LIME
In the middle of September I had the opportunity to visit School of Health Sciences at City, University of London for 3 days through the ERASMUS teachers exchange program. I am a teacher in leadership in the nursing program at Karolinska Institutet and my main goal for the exchange program was to learn more about the leadership training that the nursing students receive during their education in London. I met with Julie that led the leadership education for nursing students and master students, and I found that we build our teaching around nearly the same leadership theories. When discussing the unique everyday nursing leadership we ended up with words like ‘role model’, ‘mentorship’ and it is incorporated in the profession, and her motto was “every nurse is a leader”. I received some new references to look up and maybe add to our teaching program.
During my stay I met with students, teachers, and researchers at City, and my program was filled with a variety of activities thanks to my contact person, Petra’s hard work.
After a short introduction, the first meeting started right away with me shadowing a lecture/seminar where the students reported and reflected on a meeting with an elderly person whom they had interviewed. They shared fascinating stories about how this approach opened their student eyes, not least about the meaning of the life experience, but also that the elderly people have lived long lives filled with memories of happiness and sorrow.
City had a profile to train clinical skilled nurses and the clinical simulating training center was impressing, it was huge. The nursing students need to practice there for 300 hours before graduating, added to those 2000 clinical practice hours accomplished at hospitals and other care facilities. Most impressive was the “Tech Suite”, a room like a flat that had all the newest equipment to aid people in their homes which the students could practice on before coming in to somebody’s home. Since the “Tech Suite” was small, it did not allow the whole class to enter the room at the same time, and therefore the action in the room was filmed and linked to the classroom so that all students could participate and discuss what had occurred in the space.
This past May, I meet Raf, a teacher from City, when she was in Sweden for the ERASMUS teaching exchange program, and in London she took me on a public health walk that she primarily does with public health students. We went to a part of London that was filled with history and diversity related to socioeconomic status. The aim of the walk was to show the people’s health from the location of living and learn from how history could color the thoughts about health. She showed me a map of the average survival time in different neighborhoods and it differs with 20 years depending on where you live. She encourage the students and me to look around and see the environment we passed through to better understand the problem that the people are fighting with in that area and use that to develop our skills and think about what the population needs from us as healthcare providers. I think that the walk makes the point with the students more than if they have had a lecture in the classroom about it, anyway it did touch me.
I also met the ERASMUS organizer at City, University of London and we discussed the language barriers when students come to Sweden, and my reflection was that the work around making our Swedish nursing program more manageably for foreigner students is very important.
There were a lot of more informal and formal meetings during the three inspiring days, and I really want to recommend you to visiting another University in another country it gave me perspective on my own work. I received knowledge about what we do well and what we really need to develop. My network has broadened and maybe this journey was the beginning of collaboration over a common teaching curriculum in the future.