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UiA gets 16.5 million to develop practice placements

The University of Agder will develop new practice placements for healthcare and social work students.

Image of a child and an adult holding hands
The master’s programme in Child Welfare will develop new placement models and new ways of cooperation between state and municipal child welfare services and the University (Photo: Colourbox.com)

This became clear after two research groups at UiA’s child welfare and nursing education were granted funding from the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (Diku).

These projects receive funding:

  • ‘Red thread – new placement models for child welfare students’ receives NOK 9,994,183. The project manager is Professor Reidun Follesø at the Department of Sociology and Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences.
  • ‘Learning environment and supervision in municipal practice placements: New model for strengthened cooperation between nursing students, placement supervisors and practice teachers’ receives NOK 6,502,209. Project manager is Associate Professor Kristine Haddeland at the Department of Health and Nursing Science, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences.

Diku received 23 applications in total from 13 different educational institutions. 12 of them were approved.

Developing child welfare education programme

Practice placements are included in four years of UiA’s 5-year master’s programme in child welfare.

Professor Reidun Follesø ved Fakultet for samfunnsvitskap

Professor Reidun Follesø at the Department of Sociology and Social Work

“Our main goal is to develop new placement models and new ways of cooperation between state and municipal child welfare services and the University”, says Reidun Follesø.

She stresses that the goal of the project is to educate and train competent child welfare workers. And also improve the supervisory skills in the various municipal institutions that employ our placement students.

 “The focus on skills with regards to encounters between individuals is the thread running through the project, as it does in the master’s programme in child welfare at UiA”, she says.

The project plans to develop an internet resource – Red thread digital book – where students can share experiences.

“The digital book will be a new approach where students collect their learning during the practice placement period. They also improve their skills by sharing their thoughts and experiences from their placement with other students, educators at the university and supervisors at the placement site”, says Follesø.

The municipalities of Birkenes, Lillesand and Kristiansand; the child welfare services in the Kristiansand region; Lister child welfare services; and the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir), region south are all partners in the research project.

Practice for nurses

Kristine Haddeland recently defended her PhD and looks forward to working on a new and exciting research project.

“We want to improve the practice placement period for our students and the municipalities that employ them”, Haddeland says.

Lovisenberg Diaconal University College and the municipalities of Arendal, Kristiansand, Åmli and Flekkefjord will be key partners. 

“As an educational institution, we depend on the municipalities to offer placement opportunities for our nursing students”, says Haddeland.

Førsteamanuensis Kristine Haddeland ved Institutt for helse- og sjukepleiarvitskap ved Fakultet for helse- og idrettsvitskap.

Associate Professor Kristine Haddeland at the Department of Health and Nursing Sciences, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences.

Nationwide practice development

Many of the students in our health and social science educations will end up working in the municipalities after they graduate, but lack of practice placements is often an obstacle. This is the reason why the government has allocated NOK 97 million to projects which contribute to good and relevant practice development in the municipalities.

At UiA, Follesø has already started on her project for students in the child welfare education. Haddeland will start her research project in the spring of 2021. Both are four-year projects, and they will be completed in 2024.