Record numbers apply for nursing education

An urgent need for nurses in inland areas has prompted action by Umeå University. The opportunity to participate in remote nursing education in the autumn has proved very popular, with a record number of applicants from the inland municipalities.

Umeå University hopes that remote studies can contribute to more nurses in the inland areas.

Umeå University hopes that remote studies can contribute to more nurses in the inland areas.

Foto: Jessica Gow/TT

Skellefteå2023-08-21 15:59

In an attempt to improve healthcare in Västerbotten, Umeå University has decentralized its basic education for nurses, by allowing students in inland areas to study remotely.

– It's fantastic that so many have applied. It's the first time we've offered the opportunity to have one's home town as the base for studies, which feels very positive, says Magnus Hultin, vice dean for collaboration in clinical education at Umeå University, to VK.

In its first intake, the university received a record-breaking 63 applications from inland municipalities. Vilhelmina had 12 applications.

– It's great that so many have applied. We have long faced a shortage of nurses. The solution has been to bring in temporary nurses, which has not provided the same continuity in the workplace, says Tina Svensson, head of the medical unit in Vilhelmina municipality and at the Tallbacka nursing home.

The selection process ended in July and it's now clear how many will be admitted to the program. Fourteen from the inland areas and 11 from Skellefteå will join. In total, 25 individuals will enrol in the new distance education program for nurses.

Magnus Hultin, Umeå university.

At Region Västerbotten, there is also satisfaction with the number of applications.

– It feels good; we get to keep residents from the countryside who want to stay living there. It's beneficial in many ways, says Niklas Vilhelmsson, head of operations at Vilhelmina's health center.

He continues:

– If we can find staff and avoid hiring outside workers, it's positive. Staffing the nursing station with Vilhelmina residents is advantageous in various aspects.

The upswing in applications from the inland areas was expected, although the high number still exceeded expectations .

–There's a demand for individuals to be able to stay in their home town while studying. It was somewhat expected that many would apply, yet we're still incredibly pleased with the news, says Hultin.

Having more local students helps healthcare in smaller towns. It also assists the inland areas in retaining their population.

- It secures the competence supply. Many nurses are retiring or changing workplaces, and since nursing is such a broad field and many are needed, it's important to bring in new individuals. This initiative is a great solution, says Svensson.