“We received an amazing response from the medical students when we put out a call, together with the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. After only an hour, 29 interested students had contacted us, which had risen to 78 after twelve hours”, says Zilla Jonsson, director of human resources at Region Östergötland.
She believes that the students’ help will be needed, both in the short term and with a slightly longer perspective.
“When the students volunteer and are willing to help, it makes it easier for us to cope with staffing in medical care. This eases the enormous pressure we are experiencing at the moment. It will benefit our operations enormously, and really help the people we are here to serve. The initial stage is to go in at the 1177 medical information service. But we may also contact the students who have expressed their willingness, and set them to other tasks”, says Zilla Jonsson.
The call was directed at medical students nearing the end of their education, in their ninth, tenth or eleventh term, and they receive an hourly salary for the work. They will receive training before coming into the telephone service, and they may also work with other matters than answering the 1177 initiative “Coronalinjen”. Professor Anna Strömberg, vice dean at LiU for education with responsibility for collaboration with municipalities and regions, is sure that students at this stage of their education have sufficient knowledge.
“They have reached a stage of their education where they have the knowledge required. We may also consider having students carry out other tasks, and possibly put out a call for students taking other terms of the programme. But to start with, we’ve decided on this approach”, says Anna Strömberg.
She is impressed by the response from the students:
“We are delighted that they are prepared to help. It gives me hope for the future”, she says.
She comments that students have recently expressed anxiety over how the measures taken in response to the spread of the coronavirus affect their studies, the financing they receive from CSN, and their clinical training.
“This is one way to convert their anxiety to something positive. They are contributing to society and at the same time gaining valuable experience.”