In October, Jan Mårtensson visited China and Tianjin Medical University for the seventh time. Together with colleagues, he discussed current and future student and teacher exchange, as well as research collaborations.
“Sweden and China are very different, and that is what I find so interesting”, says Jan Mårtensson.
Jan Mårtensson, Professor of Nursing Science at the School of Health and Welfare, spent three weeks in China together with several colleagues. Among them were Annette Nygårdh, Senior Lecturer in Nursing Science, Anders Broström, Professor of Nursing Science and Henrik Jansson, Associate Professor of Periodontics.
Compared to previous visits, there was a greater focus on research and Jan Mårtensson is satisfied with the results.
“Nursing research in China is lagging behind. Nurses are not valued as researchers in the same way as in Sweden, and we feel that we both want and can provide support in developing this type of research”, he says.
Research cooperation with the Tianjin Medical University has been going on for some time and since a little more than a year, three of the Nursing teachers at Tianjin are enrolled as PhD students at the School of Health and Welfare with Jan Mårtensson as their main supervisor. Lan Wang, Lu Qi and Nan Jiang are studying chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stroke, and cancer and are expected to defend their theses sometime in 2018 or 2019.
Sleep apnea in China
During the visit, the participating researchers were able to discuss future research collaborations.
Anders Broström is responsible for one of the partnerships, expected to launch in 2016. It concerns obstructive sleep apnea. The aim is to map the extent of the problem in a Chinese context, among people with high blood pressure.
Another planned study will focus on Chinese nurses' attitudes to families’ involvement in health care.
“In China, the family is much more involved in caring for a patient, even when the patient is hospitalized, helping for example with personal hygiene and food. Treatment in China can be quite expensive and dissatisfaction with the care provided is not uncommon, leading to conflicts and sometimes even violence, which of course makes the staff feel very uncomfortable. Therefore, we want to compare the attitudes of nurses in Sweden and China when it comes to involving relatives in caring for a patient”, says Jan Mårtensson.
Developed cooperation in education
Tianjin Medical University has had a teacher exchange with the School of Health and Welfare since 2012, and since 2014 four students from the Nursing programme have visited Tianjin Medical University for an exchange semester. In the spring of 2016, two more students will travel there and study two courses within the programme as well as doing an internship at a hospital in the city.
There are several differences between education in Sweden and China.
“In China, there is a greater focus on lectures and examination on the course literature. Here in Sweden we build the courses much more on reflection and critical thinking. The students who come here are at first a bit taken aback when they get assignments where they are supposed to critically examine something or make suggestions for changes. They are not accustomed to it, but after a while they usually appreciate it”, explains Jan Mårtensson.
Teachers must also adapt their teaching to where they are. The methods used to teach the nursing programme in Sweden are not always good to use in China. So both methods and content must be adjusted.
“It is important that we supplement the Chinese teaching and vice versa. That we don’t lecture about the same thing as their own teacher could have done, but that we bring something new to the benefit of the current course. Recently, a guest teacher from China, for example, held a lecture on traditional Chinese medicine as a complementary method here in Jönköping”, says Jan Mårtensson.'
Future collaboration within education for dental hygienists
Henrik Jansson was another researcher who visited Tianjin, and he was given a guided tour of the School of Dentistry.
“The study programme is designed in the same way as in Sweden. But one big difference is that there are far more people in a much smaller space. What struck me was that the technology was very fashionable, but compared to Swedish conditions, basic hygiene and cleaning facilities were virtually absent”, says Henrik Jansson.
Henrik Jansson got the opportunity to talk about dental hygiene education in Jönköping and offered to help in the start-up of a dental hygienist training in Tianjin.
Visit to the Swedish Embassy
Teachers and researchers from the School of Health and Welfare also visited Beijing and its tourist destinations. They were also invited to the Swedish Embassy to discuss the cooperation between the School of Health and Welfare and Tianjin Medical University.
Facts: Tianjin Medical University
The School of Health and Welfare has been working with Tianjin Medical University since 2011. Tianjin Medical University was the first medical university approved by the Chinese government after the establishment of the People's Republic of China. The Nursing programme was introduced in 1983 and was the first in China to provide a bachelor's degree. Since 1993 the university also offers a master's program in Nursing.
Research education in Nursing started in 2008. The first PhD, Xiao-Ying Zang, had Jan Mårtensson as co-author on one of his articles.
Tianjin is the largest seaport city in northern China's, located 14o kilometers from Beijing. With around 16 million inhabitants, Tianjin is one of China's most expansive regions today.
From the left: Anders Broström, Annette Nygårdh, Anna Strömberg, Jan Mårtensson, Yue Zhao, Chunmei Wang, Qi Lu, Shan Zhao