Infection control and hospital hygiene are key concepts in health care — especially now, during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. They are also the subjects of a new study program at the University of Gothenburg, designed for health professionals in the Nordic region. The application period for the fall semester is now underway.
The Master’s degree in microbiology, infection control, and hospital hygiene started in fall 2019 when the University of Gothenburg received the remit from the Nordic Council of Ministers. The program is Nordic, with students from Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, and Finland, and it is provided on a half-time basis over two years.
Anneli Ringblom, a lecturer at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy, is one of persons responsible for the program. She emphasizes the importance of this knowledge wherever in the health care sector the students work, or plan to work.
“Infections are all around us, and avoiding them in the care sector is crucial so that today’s advanced therapies can work as intended. People who are well informed about microbiology, contagion, antibiotic resistance, infection epidemiology, infection control, and hospital hygiene are useful everywhere in health care, and any unit would benefin from having such a person among it’s staff” she says.
High demand for knowledge
“Businesses and other stakeholders in society also find this knowledge useful. We see this now, in particular, when everyone’s seeking advice on how to prevent the coronavirus from spreading in society, to protect at-risk groups, and to ensure that the care services are working properly. Knowing the basics about contagion and being able to convey scientific arguments on these issues make a much more secure, stable foundation than trying to understand who to listen to,” Ringblom continues.
The Master program is available both on a commissioned basis and as part of the University’s regular education. In the latter case, a previous Bachelor of Science degree in a relevant subject is required. The closing application date for the fall semester is April 15th for the University’s regular education and April 30th for its commissioned education.
The students spend a total of four weeks on campus every semester. Between the stays on campus, they study from home using video lectures, quizzes, study assignments, and group projects. Some 35 students from the Nordic countries will be admitted for the fall.
Network and scientific base
“The Nordic countries are both similar and different in how they manage infectious diseases. Since the program is Nordic, you get a network extending over the whole Nordic region and you learn how to argue why this or that is done. In the final phase, it’s a matter of finding approaches based on scientific evidence,” Ringblom says.
The program comprises four courses of one semester each: contagion and antibiotic resistance; infection epidemiology and vaccinology; infection control and hospital hygiene; and a concluding Master’s degree project. The courses can be taken separately.
“The worldwide spread of the coronavirus has opened many people’s eyes to how vulnerable to a tiny virus the whole of society is. Lots of people feel a need to understand how humans and microorganisms live in the same world, and how we can avoid succumbing to diseases like this that endanger society,” Ringblom concludes.
Education (information in Swedish): Magisterprogram i mikrobiologi, smittskydd och vårdhygien