STINT Fellow Malin Berghammer takes teaching sabbatical at UT Austin School of Nursing

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December 13, 2023

Malin Berghammer, PhD, MSN, RN, a visiting scholar from Sweden, is teaching at The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing during Fall 2023. This semester, Berghammer is assisting in the following courses: Introduction to Patient-Centered Care, Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, Foundations of Nurse Educators and Pediatric Primary Health Care Concepts. 

Every year, the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT) gives 10 to 12 individuals the possibility to travel abroad for a teaching sabbatical. STINT collaborates with selected institutions in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the U.S. 

When applying for the fellowship, Berghammer was most impressed with the UT Austin School of Nursing and its rank as one of the leading nursing schools in the U.S. After her arrival in August, she attended UT’s new faculty symposium where she heard about the School of Nursing as an example of high-quality and good standards, as well as innovative teaching. 

“I’m very happy and honored to be one of the STINT Fellows of 2023,” Berghammer said. “It’s a great experience that you will probably only get once in your lifetime.”

Her home university is focused on work-integrated learning, with an innovative clinical student learning center, so one of her goals at the School of Nursing was to know more about and participate in our simulation labs. Berghammer also seeks to understand more about our integration of nursing education and clinical work and to experience various aspects of U.S. nursing education and becoming a nurse in the U.S. There are many similarities between the education systems but there are also things that differ. She finds these differences interesting and values the possibility of being able to compare and realize that there are some universal concepts shared even if some parts differ from the nursing education in Sweden. 

“I would also really like to see if there’s a possibility of starting a collaboration between our universities — in some courses or through projects within our programs,” she added. “I would love to host either students or staff and give them possibilities to travel abroad and see another type of health care system and be a part of nursing education abroad.” 

Berghammer began her nursing career in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Norrland University Hospital in Umeå, Sweden. Eventually, she moved back to the city of Gothenburg, her hometown, where she worked at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in one of the two heart centers in Sweden that provided pediatric heart surgery. This was also where her interest in research began. During 1999-2004, she specialized in pediatric care and completed her BSN and MSN. She wanted to know more about the children she was working with, children with congenital heart disease, and what happened later. Therefore, she continued her studies and received her PhD in 2012; her dissertation included four studies focusing on adolescents' and young adults’ experiences of living with congenital heart disease and how they experience health and quality of life. She then continued her research, and in 2020, she became an associate professor and combines her work as a senior lecturer at University West in Trollhättan with working in clinical care at Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital, which is one of the biggest university hospitals for children in Europe. The hospital is part of the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg. 

“I really enjoy the combination of being involved in nursing education and working in clinical care at the hospital, since this combination of tasks strengthens the work-integrated learning perspective,” Berghammer said. 

Berghammer and her research group are currently working on two projects, targeting pregnant women with congenital heart disease and adolescents with heart disease. She is also involved in a collaboration with South Africa where they are in the starting phase of performing interview studies with women with congenital heart disease or rheumatic heart disease. The interviews in Sweden are finalized and are now under analysis. 

“This group of women is growing and there is a gap of knowledge around pregnancy for these women, especially from the woman’s perspective and how they experience their pregnancies and how they understand experienced symptoms,” Berghammer said. “This is important knowledge, since many of the symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of heart failure; therefore, the project also involves some educational aspects and interventions concerning reproductive health issues.” 

Berghammer is also working on other projects at Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital. One of the projects focuses on COVID-19 and how children with long-term health conditions experienced care and their preferences for digital and in-person support, as well as their involvement in their care. The other concerns the validation of a screening tool for abuse and neglect in children, where Berghammer supervises a PNP, who is leading the validation process at the emergency department at the hospital. The screening tool has been validated in several steps and is going to be implemented at other hospitals in Sweden, further on. Berghammer is also supervising one doctoral, whose thesis focuses on mentorship for newly graduated registered nurses where the first article, concerning nurse managers' experience of mentorship, was recently submitted.