Slovenia is learning from the Department of Health

Deutsche Version

Basil Höneisen

Internationality in education and research? An aspect that has always been common in the world of business and its courses of study is now becoming increasingly important for other departments, too. One of these is nursing. A Slovenian university has recently introduced the FHS module “Clinical Assessment” – and more are to follow.

Jesenice, Slovenia. The Angela Boškin Faculty of Health Care is a private university offering state-recognised courses. The module “Clinical Assessment”, which covers the practice of physical examinations, is now part of the nursing course there. “We have transferred our knowledge to Slovenia,” says Birgit Vosseler, who heads the Department of Health at the FHS St.Gallen. The practice-oriented subject and FHS concept impressed the management of the Angela Boškin Faculty during a visit to the FHS. “The module is about describing the most important characteristics of organ systems and identifying, interpreting and documenting symptoms of common illnesses. In addition, students are trained to examine patients suffering from certain symptoms and to decide how acute the need for further action is,” says Vosseler. Care is taken to make the training as relevant as possible to real-life practice: The spaces in which the work is carried out are designed to look just like hospital rooms, and the students play the role of nurse or patient.

Initial contact through conference

“We first came into contact with one another at an international conference,” says Vosseler. Brigitta Skela Savic, the training manager from Slovenia, came to St.Gallen two years ago to find out more about teaching and research at the FHS. “It was basically a question of what is academic in nursing.” Making decisions requires an analytical understanding of the case, combined with applied practice. This is exactly what students learn on the Clinical Assessment module, says Vosseler. The professor subsequently presented the module at the annual Scientific Conference in Jesenice.

In the next step, FHS lecturer Martin Ruprecht developed an implementation model for transferring theory into practice. In other words: How can the students apply what they have learned to real-life situations? The transfer is working, the project is a success.

International aspects enhanced

But the transfer of the Clinical Assessment module is not the only thing indicating that the Department of Health is becoming more international. The associated Institute of Applied Nursing Sciences IPW-FHS maintains close ties with the University of Vienna. Among other things, this has resulted in a joint PhD program. Relationships are also being nurtured with contacts in Finland, aimed at launching joint research programs. What’s more, FHS nursing students are able to benefit from exchange weeks in Berlin and Hamburg.

A further international partnership currently exists with Haifa University in Israel, focused on joint teaching and research projects. According to Vosseler, the Department of Health is extending its tentacles further and further – with clear goals in sight: “We want to give students and lecturers the chance to do an international exchange and launch new research projects, so that we can improve each other and the field of professional nursing in general.”