Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: Monash University
Study programme: Nursing
Exchange programme: INK
Semester: Autumn semester 2012/2013

Arrival and registration

I was so excited to arrive in Sweden. Although KI offered to provide a student to meet me at the airport, I was happy to make my own way to my accommodation. A meeting was shortly after arranged with a contact from KI. At this meeting I was given a student card, was given an MRSA test and given a tour around the campus. This was a great orientation to KI. I felt confident that if I were to have any problems during my stay I knew who to contact and how to contact them. 


I was happy with my apartment. I shared with another girl from Australia because there were no individual rooms available. I would have preferred to have my own room however. I found that having your own room was more social, because you were then able to use the communal kitchen and communal common rooms in Jagargatan 20 and these areas are where you are able to meet other exchange students. It was harder for me to meet other exchange students because I had my own kitchen and living room in my apartment, and so didn't use these communal areas at first. 
The quality of the apartment was good. It was in a great location- right next door to the hospital where I completed my first 3 weeks of placement, and right near a bus stop. 
I was content with the cost of housing too. 

Leisure time and social activities

Social life in Sweden was great: I met many other exchange students also staying at my apartment building and we socialised together. We often had dinners at the apartment building and went out sightseeing together. I also attended some events held by Global Friends and these were great. The nurses I met while working at the hospital became my best friends: they are beautiful, lovely people. 


I have always wanted to travel, study and live abroad: the nursing exchange program allowed me to achieve all of these dreams. I decided to travel to Sweden and complete my nursing placement at KI to challenge myself, to experience the acclaimed Swedish healthcare system and to test my nursing skills in a foreign environment. Most of all, I wanted to be able to compare the Swedish and Australian healthcare systems and perhaps adopt the better practices of Swedish nurses and integrate them into my own practice back in Australia. 
I was given a great deal of information by KI and Monash University. I was very happy with the organisation and coordination provided prior to my departure. My accommodation was planned well for me and I was told which ward I would be working on well before I arrived in Sweden. This allowed me to be well prepared before my departure. 

Courses during the exchange period

1EE055 : Somatic Nursing


I loved my exchange to KI: I met lots of wonderful people from all over the world, learnt a lot from the Swedish healthcare system and really embraced Swedish culture. It was a certainly a challenge given the freezing weather, the language barrier and the task of navigating a foreign country, but I loved it all. Any downsides (shared accommodation, language barrier) were outweighed by the many positives (wonderful people, wonderful culture, wonderful adventures). I would have loved to have stayed longer than six weeks to really get to know people better and work more in the hospitals: I found that after six weeks I had just started to settle in and hit my stride, and then I had to leave! I would absolutely recommend this exchange to other people. It is not necessarily the best opportunity to build your nursing skills, BUT it is a fantastic opportunity to learn about another healthcare system and use what you observe to improve your own practice. I came out of this exchange a much more independent, open-minded and positive person. I can't wait to come back to Sweden.

Language and Culture

I chose not to participate in a Swedish language course because it clashed with my nursing shifts. Over time, I picked up some Swedish and understood more and more by listening to the nurses and people around me while I was working. Google translate also came in handy at the hospital to understand the patient notes!

Studies in general

I really enjoyed my time as a nurse in Sweden. I found the hospitals to be of a high standard and the staff to be extremely welcoming and helpful. I completed three weeks in a Neonatal ward at SOS and three weeks in Emergency Care at KI Solna. Both were fantastic! The hospitals were of a very high standard- I witnessed many practices in Swedish hospitals that I would like to see applied in Australian hospitals. For example, Swedish hospitals have a much more efficient communication/documentation system (all on computer)- in Australia, patient notes and correspondence is generally hand written. Swedish nurses also appear to have a lighter workload than those in Australia: we have less nurses, more patients and less effective systems, meaning that we have more work to do in a more time consuming manner. I noticed many similarities between Sweden and Australia also, such as the process of assessing a trauma patient, medications, family centred care etc. As I didn't speak Swedish, I found that some patients were hesitant to have me care for them, but most were happy to speak English to me and have me perform procedures on them with supervision. The language barrier, however, did make it harder for me to work as a nurse. In Australia, I would be given complete control of my patients as a 3rd year nursing student. I would coordinate and perform all of their care, with supervision. In Sweden however, I was unable to plan and coordinate patient care because I could not speak Swedish and could not independently read the patient notes, speak to the doctors, speak to the families, order tests, speak to the patients etc. I was very dependent on the nurses I worked with and spent alot of time observing, rather than 'doing'.