One of the priority issues for SFS is that business-based education (VFU) should be free of charge. For many educational programs, VFU constitutes a large part of the study time and is fundamental for several professional educations' possibility to obtain accreditation. However, the businesses where students do their VFU cannot always accommodate the volume that the programs demand at the respective study location. This leads to students having to commute daily or weekly to their VFU location, which results in both extra travel costs and sometimes extra accommodation costs for the student.
This post is written by the medical student Tilda Jalakas, a member of the SFS quality committee, who thinks it is time that the issue of additional costs during VFU is included in the government's investment in the supply of competence in healthcare.
On January 25, the government sent out a press release about an investment in nursing education in Sweden that included SEK 50 million to Sweden's colleges and universities. At most, a university was awarded SEK 2. The funds are to be used to expand the supply of VFU places in order to remedy the shortage of care places that prevails in Swedish healthcare.
At the same time, nursing students testify to the high costs that the mandatory VFU entails, both for travel and double accommodation. Single students at Linköping University state for example, that a VFU placement has cost them over SEK 12, more than the then-current study aid from CSN.
The lack of nursing places can only be remedied by more students getting through nursing education and then deciding to stay in the profession. It must not be the case that costs for VFU cause people to choose not to apply for nursing education.
I therefore want to call on all universities that have now received increased state funds for the implementation of the VFU to take the opportunity to support nursing students' opportunity to complete their education. Distribute the funds as travel and housing grants to the students who are forced to complete mandatory elements outside the place of study. Dare to take the opportunity to stand on the side of your students and do something about the problems that outsourced VFU places cause for individual students.
Qualitative health care is not created through quantitative scaling up, but through qualitative healthcare education with interested and curious students.
Previously, SFS released the report No student should pay for their degree – A study of costs and conditions for business-based education (VFU) where we have investigated the extent to which students need to make their own expenses for travel and/or double accommodation in connection with VFU. In the spring of 2023, we will present proposals for national guidelines for the higher education institutions, where it appears that the students' costs for VFU must be covered.