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Co-researcher, Advisor and Course Mentor - Björn Störtebecker talks about his work as a patient representative at GPCC

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Co-researcher, Advisor and Course Mentor - Björn Störtebecker talks about his work as a patient representative at GPCC

Portrait Björn StörtebeckerHello – please tell us who you are!
My name is Björn Störtebecker, I live in Falkenberg. I have a wife, 3 children and 5 grandchildren. I am a retired Bank Clerk since 8 years. I have a long-ranging experience of health care due to having had 3 heart attacks. I am also an experienced amateur actor.

What is your background in GPCC as a co-researcher?
My career at GPCC started with being a co-researcher to Sara Wallström, after I attended a course in how to be a research partner at the The Swedish Heart and Lung Association 5 years ago. Sara and I met 1-2 times per semester. I worked mostly with the surveys that were sent out to patients as part of her research project on stress and gender perspective behind the diagnosis of takotsubo/broken heart. I read the surveys to see if the questions were relevant from a heart patient perspective.

You were involved when GPCC's Person Council was formed - tell us!
When GPCC formed its Person Council for Patients and Relatives in 2016, Sara recommended me and I was then involved from the beginning when the Person Council was started. The first times we met, we were stumbling around a bit for what to do. Then very good and concrete goals and objectives were set for the Council. I also learned a lot from this process.

You are now engaged as a mentor in a course at the Sahlgrenska Academy - how did that come about?
In 2017, Kerstin Ulin, who is an Associate Professor and University lecturer/Nurse, asked if I could help and be a mentor in the course Person-centredness in Healthcare, which is an evening course at an advanced level and is addressed to all different health and care professionals who are educated at the Sahlgrenska Academy. Although initially most of the course participants were nursing students, more and more students from other professions have joined. Most recently we had a pharmacist with us. We have also had speech therapist students, physiotherapy students, specialist nursing students and medical students.

How is the work on the course organised?
The goal has been for the students to do the work themselves. Therefore, we have worked extensively with various educational tools such as blended learning, flipped classroom, fishbowl and rotating discussion forums. We have also used the PCV-game app for reflections, which has worked very well. And then we've done this thing which I think is particularly fun; we have dramatized different scenes, such as a ward round, and have been able to show very clearly how it can be done in a person-centered or non-person-centered way. I have always worked coupled with a teacher who has academic qualifications so this has solved the problem that I do not have the qualifications to set grades.

How have you experienced your involvement as a mentor?
It has been very exciting and interesting to see the students' development during the course, and especially when you can see that they really understand what person-centered care is. I also find the active communication with the students during the course very enjoyable. I feel that my contribution is useful and valuable, as I bring experiences that the students have never had. They are all so young and healthy! At the end of each course, I actually feel that we have achieved a true partnership, even though we do not meet very often. And I feel I have made many friends!

Kerstin Ulin, Course Teacher comments:

Björn has, based on his experience of being a patient, interpreted and implemented course objectives, learning activities and examinations and assessments based on course literature, reference literature and lectures in patient and healthcare contexts, but he has also contributed on how to be a human being; a person. He has also contributed by personifying his own experience and knowledge on the basis of person-centered ethics put into practice.

About the course:
Person-centering in health care and care (PCV020) started at the University of Gothenburg in 2017. The course is led by an interdisciplinary team consisting of eight mentors, including a patient representative. The mentors come from The university of Gothenburg's educational programmes (physiotherapist, nurse, dietician and social worker programmes), The Region Västra Götaland’s Change Leader for the Implementation of Person-centred Care), GPCC's Person Council for patients and relatives/carers as well as postgraduate education.

Photograph by Björn's wife.