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Students take the lead in new course about person-centered care

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Students from four different degree programs are attending a brand new course in person-centered care at Sahlgrenska Academy to learn about, with and from each other. Just as patients are active partners in person-centered care, the students are assuming major responsibility for both content and learning.

Centering on Persons in the Healthcare System and Social Services is a second-cycle elective. The pilot project will be documented and evaluated. The goal is to expand and ultimately offer the course to all Sahlgrenska Academy students.

All forty participants in the initial course have completed at least one year of the occupational therapy, physical therapy, medical or nursing program.

Kristina Rosengren“The students appear to be attracted by the concepts of both person-centered care and interdisciplinary teaching and learning,” says Kristina Rosengren, an instructor in the nursing program. “The twenty-first century teaching methods no doubt appeal to this generation as well.” She collaborated with teachers and students from all four programs in designing the course.

The students met for the first time just the other day. Each of them had the chance to articulate their vision of the course and person-centered care over a cup of coffee.

“They wrote their ideas, expectations and apprehensions on balloons that they had blown up,” Kristina Rosengren says. “Many of them were excited but a few were afraid that the course would have a touchy-feely atmosphere about it.”

The course is an initiative by the University of Gothenburg Center for Person-centered Care (GPCC). A number of the center’s studies have found that patients and clients of the healthcare system and social services experience a greater sense of security, are less prone to develop complications, require fewer hours of attention and generate lower costs when the approach is taken.

The Swedish healthcare system is in the midst of a paradigm shift. Both students and professionals are thirsty to find out more about ways of adopting person-centered care at various levels. The purpose of the course is to share our findings so that the orientation can begin to take hold in clinical practice.

Students lead the way with student-centred learning

Students working together in the courseClassroom sessions are broken down into teams based on a mentoring system. There is no reading list and traditional lectures have fallen by the wayside. The course borrows generously from the flipped classroom model.

The coordinators publish suggestions for videos, presentations, narratives, references and other learning aids on the GUL portal in accordance with the blended learning method. The students are at liberty to find sources of their own that reflect their individual notions of person-centered care in relation to their future profession.

A team effort

The Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE) sponsored course development last year by a large team of teachers and students from several different programs. GPCC and the vice dean for program issues—along with the directors of the occupational therapy, physical therapy, medical and nursing programs—took the original initiative. Tomas Grysell, a teaching and learning specialist and researcher at Pedagogical Development and Interactive Learning (PIL), contributed his expertise.

Lecturers planning the courseThe following people put the syllabus together: Catarina Wallengren and Irma Lindström (Program Coordinators, GPCC), Louise Danielsson and Christina Finnsbäck (Teachers, Physical Therapy Program), Inger Jansson and Kristina Rosengren (Teachers, Nursing Program), Qarin Lood (Teacher, Occupational Therapy Program), Denislava Mintcheva and Marie Walther (Teachers, Medical Program), Anja Björkman (Student, Nursing Program), Johanna Fossenstrand (Student, Physical Therapy Program) and Anna Ruus (Student, Medical Program).

TEXT: ELIN LINDSTRÖM CLAESSEN