STUDIES. In autumn 2017, Sahlgrenska Academy will start providing supplementary education for a further two professional groups; pharmacists and biomedical analysts. This means that our faculty will offer supplementary education for a total of five different professional groups with foreign degrees. The programmes are now open for application, up until April18.
In recent times, we have seen a record number of people with higher education in the healthcare sector arriving in Sweden. In order to gain a licence to practice in Sweden, many people with an educational background in healthcare can attempt to pass the National Board of Health and Welfare’s proficiency test and clinical training. Doctors, dentists and nurses also have the opportunity of supplementary education at a number of Swedish higher education institutions, including the University of Gothenburg; an initiative which began several years ago. Completion of this supplementary education leads directly to a licence to practice in Sweden and work.
The government is now expanding this investment by providing funding for more supplementary education. Starting in the autumn semester 2017, pharmacists and biomedical analysts with foreign degrees will also be able to supplement their education at Sahlgrenska Academy.
Leads to establishment in Sweden
“It’s a very positive and exciting feeling to once more be entrusted by the Ministry of Education and Research with the launch of more supplementary education programmes. We have been part of this since 2009, when the first wave of supplementary education started in Sweden. We’ve had very a positive experience with this investment,” says Pernilla Hultberg, coordinator for the supplementary education at Sahlgrenska Academy.
Since the start in 2009, some hundred foreign doctors, dentists and nurses have participated in the supplementary education at Sahlgrenska Academy, and a very large proportion of these have gone on to establish themselves on the Swedish labour market. There is a great deal of interest in supplementary education, and the programmes for pharmacists and biomedical analysts are expected to garner a considerably higher number of applicants than there are available places.
Adapting knowledge to Swedish conditions
- The supplementary education for pharmacists will have 20 places and comprise 70 credits (i.e. a little over two semesters’ studies). The admissions process will take place every autumn. In Sweden, this supplementary education is offered at two universities: the University of Gothenburg and Uppsala University.
“It’s an opportunity for us to contribute to a situation where qualified pharmacists, primarily from countries outside of the EU/EEA who are not presently finding work, can put their skills to use in our society. At the same time, we know that this means a great deal for the individuals who now have significantly improved chances of entering the labour market they are qualified for,” explains Patrik Aronsson, chair of the education committee for pharmaceutical education and the pharmacy programme.
As the students already have a pharmacy degree, the supplementary education aims to adapt the knowledge they have acquired to Swedish conditions. Among other things, the education will guide the students within Swedish medical tradition and increase their communication skills and knowledge of Swedish legislation. A clinical training period in a pharmacy is also included.
“It’s not only the individuals being educated that will benefit from the supplementary education, but the university as well,” says Patrik Aronsson. He is convinced that work on the new supplementary education for pharmacists will also benefit the regular pharmacy programme at Sahlgrenska Academy as the tuition is offered to smaller groups of people who already have a pharmacy degree.
“This is an opportunity for us to develop our tuition and get closer to the intentions of the Pedagogical Ideas Programme with regard to student-centred learning. We hope that our developments here will prove ‘infectious’ for our regular programmes.”
Faster route to a licence
- The supplementary education for biomedical analysts will have 16 places and comprise 90 credits (i.e. three semesters’ studies). The admissions process will take place every autumn. I Sweden, this supplementary education is offered at four higher education institutions, with the University of Gothenburg as the coordinating institution. The education is also offered by Kristianstad University, Linköping University and Uppsala University.
“We have previously admitted several students with foreign degrees to a later part of the programme, and we believe that we will be able to offer them a better and faster route to a licence and out into working life,” says Camilla Hesse, programme coordinator for the biomedical analyst programme at Sahlgrenska Academy.
Planning the courses so that they fit the shifting background of biomedical analysts with foreign degrees poses a great challenge, as does finding good placements for the included ten-week clinical training. The education comprises all of the clinical laboratory subjects included in the normal first-cycle programme, from histopathology, haematology and transfusion medicine to molecular diagnostics. A degree project comprising 15 credits is also included.
“We planned the education based on the national goals for a biomedical analyst degree and we have also agreed on the scope and basic layout in the national group,” explains Camilla Hesse.
Admissions open until 18 April
Applications for the education are made via www.antagning.se. The admissions period runs from 15 March to 18 April.
The government is also investing in new supplementary education for architects, midwives, economists, physiotherapists, engineers, psychologists, social workers and system analysts. From 2018, social workers will also be able to supplement degrees obtained from countries outside of the EU/EEA at the University of Gothenburg.
The supplementary education for doctors, dentists and nurses will gain more places at other higher education institutions. Several Swedish institutions have been commissioned to develop the new supplementary education.
“Many foreign nationals in Sweden are still experiencing difficulties finding a job which matches their competence and level of education. People who come to Sweden should be able to find work quickly. But it’s not enough to get just any job; new arrivals should of course be able to work with something that corresponds to their education and competence,” says Minister for Higher Education and Research Helene Hellmark Knutsson in a press release.
TEXT: ELIN LINDSTRÖM CLAESSEN