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Photo: Erica Lång
Karin Zingmark, Adjunct Professor in Nursing,and Asa Engstrom, Professor and Chaired Professor in Nursing. View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Joint development of health care in the region

Published: 7 November 2016

The health care system is facing major challenges. With two new professors in the subject of Nursing and a freshly signed letter of intent between Luleå University of Technology and the Norrbotten County Council, will the cooperation deepen and expand.

– For many years we have collaborated with Norrbotten County Council and has a unique collaboration in education and research, with short routes to each other despite large organizations. To meet the challenges we face, we will concentrate our efforts on joint applications and utilize the expertise and network we have together, says Åsa Engström, Professor and Chaired Professor in Nursing at Luleå University of Technology.

Major challenges

In October Asa Engstrom assumed as Professor and Chaired Professor in Nursing at Luleå University of Technology. Karin Zingmark, who worked as R & D Director and Development Director at Norrbotten County Council, assumed at the same time as an Adjunct Professor in the same subject. In their roles, they face major challenges with future competence in health care and how good health care can be assured in the future. In addition there is the demographic challenge with the age structure and geography. More and more need health care, which will be provided by less and less personel.

Strengthen the academic environment

Today there are 2100 nurses in the County Council, but relatively few PhDs. Now there is an opportunity to strengthen the academic environment for nurses and gain strength in the Nursing research.
– The goal is to collaborate in nursing, education and research, create larger research groups in collaboration with other professionals, identify common research perspective and target interesting research questions that can lead the clinic and healthcare forward. The possibility increases with two professors in nursing, as the ability to profile Nursing in practice and theory, says Karin Zingmark.

Distinct profiling

The Department of Health Sciences has a clear profile in the field of e-health, in particular e-health and elderly. Centre of Excellence, EIC, Centre for Innovation and eHealth, is an established cooperation with a lot of external fundings that conducts different cutting edge projects to face the future with various solutions in e-health - projects such as RemoDem, RemoAge and Cirocco.

– Other distinct specializations at the university are emergency care, mental health, elderly and digitization. They are important areas in the social change, in which we have great skills and will develop further, says Åsa Engström.

Clarify the corporation

Recently, Luleå University of Technology and the Norrbotten County Council sighned a letter of intent to clarify the strengthening of a long term strategic cooperation on regional development, competence, research and infrastructure. The parties would together be in the forefront when it comes to developing future healthcare programs and areas of expertise, which supports the digital structural change in health care, and also encourage and support joint applications for research and development funds.

– We have long collaborated with the Department of Health Sciences, but not other parts of the university. Future health care also need to collaborate with engineers, architects, designers, contractors and so on. Then we get to the really interesting research projects that enable even more powerful research, says Karin Zingmark.

– By the letter of intent, we can work at a higher strategic level that applies to the entire university. It is signaling that it is entrenched in the organization, continues Åsa Engström.

Structural changes

On January 1, 2017, the County Council forms Region Norrbotten and thereby get the regional development responsibility.
–  In collaboration with others we can take the region into the future, and and the university  a key player. It's about building sustainable structures for innovation, growth and strong research environments in the region. As new professors, we should also work with a wider perspective. We have a mission to develop nursing care, but with connections to regional development, and where the development of health care is a very important part, says Karin Zingmark.